Research is the basis of many types of professional writing that use facts and statistics to make a point. This is especially true in business-to-business (B2B) content writing. A statistic or quote from an expert are two of the easiest methods to persuade your reader. A good researcher and writer knows the impact the information they find can have on their writing. Of course, research takes time, which can increase costs and lower a writer’s efficiency.
If you’re wondering, “How can I keep my research organized as I research?” there are many programs available specifically for researchers. However, not all of them are built with efficiency and ease-of-use in mind, and they may not be suited for business writing or content creation teams. That’s where Slice comes in. You can keep all of your research and writing in one spot without the need to switch between several windows. Our collaboration tools make it easy to work in tandem with others. However, no matter what tool you use, there are several things to be aware of when selecting the best program for your business. In this blog, we’re going to discuss the best research tools and top research software available for you to write the most engaging content for your business.
What Is Considered a Research Tool?
A research tool is something used to find, compile, and write research-based content, typically with easy access to articles you’ve saved. Some tools focus on finding information and others are focused on storing it. Research tools are often based on finding information or data within an online public database, such as Google Scholar, or educational databases like JSTOR or EBSCOhost (which are subscription-based or accessed through a school/university). Databases aren’t the only tool available for researchers, however. Other tools include word processors, like Microsoft Word, or data storage and collaboration research apps, like EndNote. Both of these software options offer specific solutions for writing and storing research.
So what tools are used in research and what are some of the best types of research tools that help researchers work efficiently and effectively?
What Are the Three Main Research Tools?
When it comes to researching, there are a few basic necessities that researchers need to complete their writing successfully. Of course, you should have a program with space to write your content. You need to research and collect data. And it’s helpful to have software that enables you to manage the project with other team members. These typically come in separate packages, though, so it’s important to have all of the features available to you when you select which tools to use. Let’s look at the three important research tools that are essential for every researcher:
We’ve all used a word processor at some point in our careers—most likely Microsoft Word or Google Docs. They are typically the basis of most business writing because of their universal usage. These tools are often the main space to write and compile research, like writing content marketing blogs or whitepapers. While word processors can be powerful tools, they’re typically only built for writing, which can hamper progress during involved writing projects. Despite the limitations, a writing tool is necessary to express your research.
In your search for information, you’ll need a powerful search engine or databases. But it’s about more than just finding information—you’ll also need a tool to house all of the data. Some researchers choose to save tabs—or keep them open—which can make it rather difficult to find the information they need for their content.
Thankfully, there are tools available for you to use, like EndNote or Zotero. These tools help you keep your information in one place, with the ability to save directly from web browsers. You can easily access information, and it will be available whenever you need it. But you can’t write in them, which means you need to switch back and forth between windows. Despite that, these can be very powerful tools for researchers.
Project Management Tool
Project management is often overlooked when evaluating research tools. This is especially important when writers and researchers need to work together closely and support each other. Google Docs supports multiple editors and comments, but its project management tools are fairly thin.
With all of these different tools of data collection in research being necessary for writing, it can be overwhelming to find the list of research tools that meet all of these requirements. Slice is a writing platform that combines collaboration with research collection so writers don’t have to switch back and forth between programs. Not only that, but it includes an integrated web clipper, which makes it easy to file research directly into a Slice project.
What Are the Tools Used to Have Credible Research Information?
Credible research comes from credible sources and those come from reputable websites, scholarly journals, and experts. While it can be tempting to use a blog you’ve found, whether because it agrees with your position or has interesting information, interesting doesn’t necessarily mean credible. When it comes to a list of research tools, here are a few reputable research tool examples that provide information and statistics as a whole:
- Google Scholar
- Educational databases (JSTOR, EBSCOhost, ERIC, PubMed, etc.)
- Government websites (Research.gov, Science.gov, National Institute of Health, other government agencies)
- Open access journals (CORE, ScienceOpen, arXiv e-Print Archive, etc.)
As a researcher, you want to provide the best, most current information you can find. Your audience will find your content more reputable, which could drive more traffic to your website. But this is about more than click-through-rates and leads. It’s about answering your audience’s questions with factual and valuable information. That is what’s most important.
Of course, research tools are only a part of the equation. What are types of research techniques?
What Are Research Techniques?
Research techniques include the tactics used when gathering data or evidence to discover new knowledge or develop a better grasp of a topic. But research doesn’t have to be limited to searching online–other approaches can provide insight, too. Here are a few non-search techniques researchers can use:
Developing a survey and asking questions of your audience or readers can provide valuable information. This allows you to control the questions being asked, so they are pointed at exactly what you want to know. How likely are you to use a product that does X? Do you need a product to solve Y problem? Very specific questions will lead to more precise and reliable results.
- Field Visit
Visiting a site can help you more accurately gauge what is important and allows you to see employees in action. If a service sells automotive parts and you visit the manufacturer, you might gain a better sense of the process involved to create that product. This gives you first hand knowledge and more accurate information.
Talking with experts is an excellent way for researchers to gather first-hand knowledge from a skilled and experienced person. If you’re writing about financial advisors and the way they gain leads, speaking with a professional can provide insight and lend credibility to your work.
- Focus Group
Similar to surveys, focus groups can help you determine what does or doesn’t work about a product. Is it effective? Are you interested in Z feature? Use this technique to learn how consumers think about a product or service.
- A/B Testing
This approach to research gives writers the ability to see which piece has the best results. Does mentioning the product in each section work better than mentioning it once? Is linking to other articles about similar ideas effective for gaining web traffic?
These research techniques could give you an advantage over other businesses, because your primary research will increase your credibility. When it comes to web techniques, you should consider:
- Searching high-value keywords and questions on Google to see what your competitors are writing about. Reading their content will help you understand what audiences are finding. This gives you an opportunity to provide different, more accurate, and better researched content. You should not take their content and ideas–let them inspire you to create something even better.
- Developing a publishing plan to create content regularly, in an organized way, so that it connects to a topic about your product or service. As a researcher, it’s important to know how publishing will impact your traffic and what time and space work best.
- Creating interesting content for readers to draw them in. For research purposes, this technique involves knowing what audiences find interesting.
Using these techniques will guide you through your research and writing, while ensuring you provide the best and most accurate information for your audience.
Which Tool Is Most Useful for Doing Research?
While there are several useful tools available, Slice combines all of the research tools—word processor, research collection, and project management—into one program. That means you have the ability to write your content, house all of your research, and coordinate with others on the same project without having to switch between platforms. Slice is a focus-first solution to manage your content without getting distracted, so you can focus on your work, your audience, and your success. In that sense, it is the most useful tool for a researcher to work on their content.
Here are a few features you get with Slice:
- Our integrated web clipper tool, which allows you to file online articles directly into Slice projects, so you don’t get lost in dozens of internet tabs.
- Divisible content sections, so you can organize and separate your content into digestible pieces.
- Side-by-side panes in which you can write and research.
- Real-time collaboration with other writers and researchers.
- Project management tools that allow you to assign responsibilities, set due dates, and indicate the status of projects.
Slice helps writers produce better content faster. Use it to write and research better than ever! Visit our website to see what Slice can offer you and sign up for a free trial.