As a researcher, you may find yourself wondering what is the best way to keep my research organized? Are digital tools for researchers worthwhile? Here at Slice, we know how difficult it can be to stay organized and find digital tools that help, not hinder. We’ve put together this short guide to help you understand how technology can assist your research with a few practical suggestions for techniques and tools you can experiment with. Let’s get started!
How Does Technology Help in Research?
It’s no secret that technology has revolutionized research in general. In today’s digital age, information is widely available and accessible to people all over the world. Compared to the research resources available in the decades before the advent of the internet, the difference is night and day. Rather than having to search through physical books or hunt down an expert to interview, researchers can now find many of their primary and secondary resources on the internet, often for free. But digital tools and technologies for research go beyond the ability to access information. The functions of digital tools are wide-ranging, from assisting with finding data to being repositories for collecting and compiling information and platforms where researchers can write long-form content.
What Are the Advantages of Digital Tools?
The advantages and importance of digital tools are clear: researchers can save time, effort, and money. Digital tools have made research simple and efficient. However, it can be easy for researchers to miss out on these advantages if they’re using tools incorrectly or using the wrong ones altogether! For example, trying to research content marketing examples in an academic database probably won’t give you the results you’re looking for. Likewise, looking for obscure medieval manuscripts on Google probably isn’t going to work well, either! With so many tools and techniques available, it’s important to take a step back and consider if the tool you’re using is actually the right one for the task at hand.
What Are Examples of Digital Tools for Research?
There are many digital tools for researchers, so let’s take a look at common tools that are particularly useful.
- Search Engines and Databases
Two of the most important digital tools for researchers are search engines and databases. Educational databases like JSTOR or EBSCOhost are useful for academic research, while general search engines like Google are important for business writers working on technical whitepapers and other types of long-form content.
No matter what search engine or database you’re using, there are two important things to remember:
- First of all, your search terms are vital. Using a broad search term like “airplane” will give you millions of results to sift through. Try using more specific keywords to get results that are more aligned with your subject. In addition, you can use special characters to make your searches more useful. Using the asterisk symbol is a particularly neat way to find different results. Known as truncation, putting * after three or more characters replaces all remaining characters in a word. So, instead of searching for “airplane” you would type in “*plane”. This would give you the results of “plane, airplane, aeroplane, biplane …” and so on and so forth. Using search terms like this can help you refine your search to find the right information you need.
- Secondly, you’ll need a place to put all of the data you find while using these tools. While some researchers may rely on saving tabs, bookmarking websites, or simply leaving dozens of tabs open at a time, these aren’t necessarily reliable or easy ways to store your research. Look for a tool that allows you to hold your information in one repository, with the ability to save directly from web browsers (hint, hint—Slice’s web clipper does just that! But more about us in a moment…)
- Word Processors
The digital blank page of word processors is a sight that most of us are painfully familiar with. Tools like Microsoft Word or Google Docs are commonly used for writing and compiling research, even if they’re not the right tool for the job. These spaces are designed for writing, not for conducting research, and this limitation can cause productivity problems. However, word processors are a necessary tool for researchers, and one that you probably use almost daily.
One of the benefits that digital tools can bring is combining functionalities in one platform. This makes your job as a researcher easier, since you don’t have to navigate through a convoluted tech stack to get the job done. That’s exactly why we developed Slice.
What Technologies Can Support Your Research? Slice.
Just as technology revolutionized research, here at Slice we are on a mission to revolutionize the writing workflow. Our innovative writing platform solves the problem of siloed writing, research, and project management. Why are you spending your valuable time and energy searching for that one tab, scrolling forever, or trying to get John to send you his PDF as a word document? Your technology tools should enable collaboration, empower research, and provide a creative and flexible space for writing.
You’ll find all of these abilities in one platform with Slice. You can easily write your long-form content, save your research, and collaborate with your team—in one, focus-first solution. You’ll find tools like:
- Our integrated web clipper–an easy way to capture notes and secondary information you find online, eliminating the proliferation of tabs.
- Modular content sections that allow you to divide your content into digestible components.
- Real-time collaboration.
- Project management tools, such as assigning responsibilities, setting due dates, and indicating project status.
We’re proud that our customers have reported 10X productivity gains—the writing workflow revolution is here, and you can be a part of it. Try Slice today and experience a digital transformation!