Software for the gravid researcher

Software for the gravid researcher

Everyone develops their own set of software tools over time. There are lots of handy specialist software programmes out there. Look out for those that have a strong support community around them. This is what makes R such a pleasure to learn and Nvivo so frustrating. I’ve selected ones I use that should be useful for researchers whatever their specialism.

For my references: Zotero with WebDAV for file syncing. A free pCloud account gives me 10GB of storage. I will never need that many pdfs. It works with Google Docs which is another bonus.

For presenting: Google Slides – shareable and simple.  The requirement to use Powerpoint for digital lecturing has put the kibosh on this for the now. Portability matters a lot to me and being able to drop work on the laptop and immediately pick it up on an iPad smooths things out.

For literature reviews: any spreadsheet programme will do here. I use Numbers because it’s free, on my mac and iOS, and the file saving system means it writes changes immediately – no crash risk. I started using a spreadsheet for literature reviews following a post by Elaine Gregerson https://alawuntoherself.com/2016/05/20/how-i-use-excel-to-manage-my-literature-review/ and see also https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/gradhacker/organizing-your-literature-spreadsheet-style

For extended writing: Scrivener is one of a few word processors that are designed with writers in mine. Draft, store, organise and restructure anything from an article to a book.

For collaborative writing: Google Docs is easily shared and has a low barrier to entry. I’ve long since surrendered to the vampire squid on that front.

There’s plenty of other incidental software and platform choices we make – email, word processing, cloud storage, anti-virus and it’s worth taking the time to use ones that will work for you.  Here’s one overview to selecting the right tools and developing the right cast of mind: http://www.docs.is.ed.ac.uk/skills/documents/3933/3933.pdf

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