These Apps are Made for Research
Research as a DIY activity
When doing your own research, you'll probably notice how easily it can turn into a DIY activity.
Everyone is expected to "do their homework" on their own, prepare their own financial plans for the future, write their own songs.
Students prepare their papers, and final papers on subjects of their studies. With the help of their teachers, they write outlines.
But it's good to know that experts do get paid to perform the same research activities we are doing.
Writers manage their time learning web-based resources to find out more about the topics they will be writing about. And then their editors try to make sense of the result of their research.
Making changes here and there. Finding things in their interpretations.
What constitutes a research has been more broadly represented in our society. That means, if you are writing a research paper, or just trying to answer a question on a certain topic, you get to plan your activities and save a huge amount of time and energy.
Unlike sports, if you can spend less time but still achieve your goal, the more time you'll be able to save. Unless, of course, you're doing a research on sports.
App and Planned Use of Time
Research Plan: C-R-E-A-M Strategy
Step 1: Preliminaries
- Discussion (with others)
Step 2: Research
- Choosing a research method
- Selecting information/data
- Gathering information: read, watch videos, gather data, conduct experiment, etc.
- Digest and reflect on collected information
Step 3: Organizing Your Content
- Grouping and organizing content
- Selecting what to include
Step 4: Writing Draft Versions
- Thinking about and improving each draft
- Writing each draft
- Likely number of drafts
Step 5: Completing the Task
- Writing up the references
- Writing the final draft
- Checking through the work
- Final deadlines
Doing Your Time: Why Isn't There An App For All That?
Think of how much time you are going to be needing for each of the activity in each step. And then, if you still have time, think of the real amount of time, actual time, you will be able to devote to every one of your research activity.
Which steps demand more time than others?
Are you willing to reduce the time spent on one activity in order to make up for another, additional task that you may be required to perform? Is there room for a change of plans?
With so many resources available and more options within your reach, the challenge is tackled heads on during the planning process.
The research process is relatively the same now and a decade ago. What has fundamentally changed is the amount of time we can save in the process, among others.
Another difference is there are so many apps right now that are free or designed to help students with their homework or their study.
When searching for tools to help you with your research, bear in mind that there may not be as many that are created for the sole purpose of helping you in planning or doing your research.
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Cram LLC App Uses Flash Cards to Memorize
A Personal Selection: Study Mode with Cram LLC
Combining the use of Study Mode and Cram LLC app, an option I have previewed, can potentially save time in the brainstorming and everyday research processes.
When you go through the brainstorming stage, make pattern notes and list down your personal experiences, ideas, thoughts, examples and information from books, use the Cram LLC app.
The flash cards can be a useful place to note gaps in your knowledge, list questions you want to answer on a subject area. Use the front of the card to name the sub-topic, and then flip the card to see the back to list the gaps, questions, or answers.
During your research process, the Study Mode lets you in to read and access research database, AP notes and book notes.
With tools to generate citations for Web, Book, Newspaper, Journal and Magazine, you can save a lot of time keeping the material together.
However for lectures, video/TV materials, reports, case studies and laboratory work, you may need to look for a different page off the web.
- Free Citation Generator
A free and easy to use APA and MLA citation generator that automatically creates bibliographies in the formats you want.
Apps for Academics and Research Activities
What Does It Do?
How Much Is It?
An organizer that lets you collect and stores information and then manage them later.
App is free; Evernote premium USD5 per month or USD45 per year
OSX 10.6.6 and up; Windows XP and up; iOS 5.0; Android; Blackberry; Windows Phone; WebOS
A reading platform that lets you read nonfiction books easily
USD4.17 per month
iPhone, iPad and Web
A cloud storage to keep and store your file like you would on a folder
App is free for storage up to 18GB; plan starts at USD9.99
MacOSX 10.4 and up; iPhone and iPad; Android 2.1 and up; Blackberry 4.5 and up
A computational knowledge engine that computes and answers questions
iOS 5.0; Android 2.1; widget for Mac and Windows; Web app
A scanner on your iPhone and iPad that can be used to scan receipts, whiteboards, paper notes, and turn them into PDF
iPad and iPhone; iOS 5.0
How useful are apps in planning and conducting research?
Everyone Does Research, Everyone Learns to Use the Apps
Additionally, each and every app you will be using in your research needs a bit of your time.
This learning is mandatory if you are going to be depending on your tools to perform some of the essential things for you, such as summarize a video/TV commercial, generate infographics for your articles, connect ideas for you, etc.
Therefore, it would be a wise investment to learn the way of the apps:
There are exercises available to complete in just 5 minutes a day, and self-paced training 30 to 60 minutes a day. Within the Google Apps learning center, you can even develop an expertise with Google Apps for Business, or just importing old emails.
2. Searching with Google
Also a good idea is to keep your search skills updated by visiting the Google Search help center and accessing the Google education section for news and information on courses related to searching with Google. Remember that you can customize your search preferences provided that there is a specific area you already have in mind for your research.
3. Visit the FAQ section
Each device comes with a Frequently Asked Section on how to use the apps. Apple has one, Google has one for Business app, Microsoft has many, and each of the app's website should contain a section for developers. That is where you would get information on the specific items related to your use of a third-party app.
The internet is a vast area for many purposes. Therefore, be sure to check for the time stamps on certain pages that you have found before using them as a web reference. Some pages may be archived pages and are not updated by the host.
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Using Visuals in Your Research
Using the Lab, the Digital Lab and Its Apps
Will you be using videos in your research planning process and the research process? Or will you be avoiding visuals and videos in your research?
Whichever is your strategy, there are things to consider before starting a visual journey in the name of your study.
First is that visuals are quite helpful for not only planning your personal experience, but also to communicate findings. However, they require special knowledge.
Using the right search engine and the right keywords can lead you to videos and visuals that may be of use in your research. You will be required to keep track and interpret your findings in a practical manner.
Additional tasks include providing transcriptions and translations (if the video is in another language than that of your research). If you will be using the videos in a lab, a digital lab, for example, then you would have to search for the right app or a platform to work on.
How to Choose the Right App for The Right Research
The main things to think about when planning your research project are the goals that you have in mind. With apps, you might achieve the best results for your goals, because you will be working with tools that are designed specifically to help you complete certain tasks.
Keep your goals in mind
Not everyone is good at everything. As you are doing your research, you probably will also be maintaining a study and keeping things neat in that area, too.
Stick to your research plan
Although I have tried to list down the activities for each stage of the research process, from planning to researching to writing and editing your drafts, there are probably things, very detailed things that you still want to get done.
Note taking, for example, is a skill on its own. A very useful skill, too, and for many purposes, not just for the research project.
Track your changes
Things change. Anticipate and track the changes you have made to your plans so that when you reflect upon your findings, you will find it easier to communicate the reasons for the changes.
© 2014 Lovelli Fuad