As a PhD candidate and an Educational Technologist for ITaP, I rely on technology to keep myself organized at work, to collect research materials for my dissertation, and to keep track of things I find for my personal life. Here are three of my favorite apps and why I found them to be so helpful.
1) Evernote: This free data management system assists in keeping track of three areas of my life: work, school, and home. Each area has its own folder within Evernote. A paid account gives you a defined large storage space. The free version recharges your account monthly with storage space.
*Accessible on the platforms and devices I use, Mac/PC, and Android.
*Backed up on the cloud.
This application has:
* Tagging for organization
*The Web Clipper extension in Chrome, which allows you to turn a web page into a note.
*The ability to convert an email message into a note in Evernote.
*The ability to record and save audio in a note.
I use the tags to keep myself organized while writing my dissertation. If I find a resource I need to remember when writing Chapter 2, I can tag it as such. I can also add a “Chapter 1” tag as well so I remember to mention it in my background. I can also give it a topic or author tag so when I want all resources related to any topic or person, with one click, I have them.
I have a notebook for work. I created tags for all projects, meetings, notes, tools, and events I need to follow. I can find them and add to them wherever I am, even if all I have is my phone and the Evernote app.
I have another notebook in Evernote for personal resources such as recipes and bookmarks. Entering recipes makes them accessible anywhere I am near technology. When I find a resource my daughter might enjoy, I tag it with her name.
Anything that can use sorting or quick referencing anywhere is a great fit for Evernote. A getting started guide is here: https://evernote.com/getting_started/
Example of Evernote
2) Mendeley: I have found immense success in using Mendeley as a tool to not only collect research related resources but to search files of the scholars who contribute to the Mendeley collection.
Mendeley allows you to:
*Connect to scholars with similar research interests.
*Join groups based on your research interests.
*Connect with colleagues and share resources.
*Have your journal collection accessible and backed-up on the cloud.
*Connect with your materials using the app.
*Organize your articles with tags.
*Monitor a folder on your desktop to import any journal you save right into the tool.
*Connect directly to Word with an embed feature.
I have found I need to review what I import to Mendeley because it does not always collect the citation information accurately. Once I have verified for accuracy, the citation can be copied to your clipboard and imported into a document. Mendeley also is friendly to the “drag and dropped” file. You can drop files into the tool and drag citations out of the original Mendeley file.
Mendeley is a free web-based tool. The app is also free but you need to use the web-based tool to connect with scholars and interact with peers. Your files update every time you open the application.
Mendeley Online Example
3) EasyBib online is a fee-based tool when used on the web but the app for Android and iPad is free. I do not use the web-based part of this tool. The app is helpful when I find a resource such as a physical book I would like to remember later. Opening the app immediately opens your phone or tablets camera, prompting you to take a picture of the books bar code. It then looks up several possible matches, allowing you to select the correct choice. You can also look up books according to title. The application saves a list of all things you looked up on just that device, making it an accurate but temporary repository for books you want to find again. Citations can be saved in MLA, APA, or Chicago style. This one feature is all the free application does but it has proven to be extremely useful, quick, and easy to use, on several occasions. Since there is no cloud storage of your information, I suggest utilizing the citation as soon as possible.
EasyBib app example
If you know of additional apps useful for the busy graduate student/mom/Ed Tech at Purdue, please share them in the comments section.
By: Bethany Croton
For more research related apps: 25 Best Research Apps for iPad and Android