10 Great Research Tools for College Students
By Antonio Tooley
It is fair to assume that all college students will spend the majority of their time between keg parties hunkered down behind their desks, writing, either in class, the campus library, or in their dorm rooms. All joking aside, writing in college is on a whole another level when compared to the writing students had to turn in while in high school.
In addition to being readable, concise and free of any grammar and spelling mistakes, college papers and essays need to be backed up by facts gathered from scientific or scholarly publications, papers, and books. This requires some extensive research on the students’ behalf before they even begin to write, which is fine, except for the fact that research is one of the most boring, tedious, and time-consuming aspects of writing.
While bending the space-time continuum is still beyond the grasp of today’s technology, there are other ways in which it can help students make their research process simplified and streamlined. Here are 10 incredible research tools designed to help college students do their research like pros. You can find more details about each of the tools in the following paragraphs.
Perhaps it would be a bit inaccurate to characterize Mendeley as a research tool, because it is so much more than that. First and foremost, it is an online academic network which allows for college students, teachers, and scholars from every corner of the planet to get together and exchange ideas, research data, and collaborate on different projects. Apart from that, it is also incredibly useful as a tool with which you can manage your references, edit the documents you’ll be using during the research process, primarily in PDF form, and create custom bibliographies.
Every student will absolutely love Zotero, because it’s one of the most easy-to-use and intuitive research tools in existence. Once installed, it will act as an extension or an add-on for your browser, ready to organize, collect, and save all the research data which you will rely on later. Its party piece, however, is its ability to recognize useful content automatically, and store it into your fully searchable library with a single click. Capable of detecting PDF, as well as most audio, video and image formats.
Another multi-role research tool every college student should learn to use is EndNote. Its unique ability to help authors and students find full texts in databases based on just abstracts is truly impressive. Equally impressive is the feature which auto-completes, manages, and shares all of the research references with ease. EndNote also allows its users to organize their research data with the help of tags, which they can later use to search for the data they need, and write citations in pretty much all of the styles currently in use.
4. Directory of Open Access Journals
The Directory of Open Access Journals is one of the best resources online which indexes and allows access to nearly 11,000 peer-reviewed journals, over 6,500 thousand of which are searchable at article level, with a total of over 2,000,000 articles indexed in DOAJ database. Open access means the students are allowed to read, download, distribute, print, share, and link to all of the articles they come across on DOAJ.
If you are majoring in computer sciences, you will find plenty of reasons to use CIteSeerX almost every day. Acting both as constantly expanding digital library and a scientific search engine, CiteSeerX’s goal is to facilitate access to high-quality scientific journals and improve all aspects of that process, including functionality, immediate availability, comprehensiveness, accuracy and relevance. In addition to the data, users can gain access to scientific algorithms, metadata, tools and techniques.
ScienceDirect is one of the industry leaders when it comes to providing access to scientific publications which include journals and books. With access to over 13,000,000 papers, 2,500 scientific journals, and 33,000 books, this online resource is essential for every college student, educator, and scholar. We like that fact that it offers access to full text articles in a matter of minutes through its simple and functional user interface which allows you to stay up to date with all the scientific news in your field of research.
BioOne is a nonprofit publisher which was created with one goal in mind: to make research data more accessible to students, professionals and scholars. The site aggregates full-text articles from over 180 peer-reviewed journals which focus on the fields of biology, ecology and environmental sciences, and is ideal for college students, because the costs of downloading and reading the journals are far lower than those of its competitors.
Because research is such a time-intensive activity, you will need an app which will allow you to manage your time, both when it comes to your personal obligations, and the work you put in on your projects, whether they are individual, or team-oriented. That’s where Wunderlist come in, enabling you to access it from your phone, tablet, or browser on your computer, and keep an eye on your deadlines, important dates, or notes.
Data Elixir is one of the most useful content curator sites on the Web. If you decide to sign up for its weekly newsletter, it will keep you informed of all the breaking news and events in the field of science, as well as research data from high-quality journals and publications. Subscription is completely free, which makes it especially beneficial for college students.
Another crucially important tool you need to use when writing and relying on multiple sources is a powerful plagiarism checker, and PlagScan is the most accurate app on the market. Apart from scanning your work and finding duplicate content by comparing it with a database of over 1 billion documents, it is also packed with other useful features, such as fully adjustable accounts, and a responsive customer service.
We hope these 10 research tools will make your job easier next time you are given a written assignment. Not only will you avoid being buried under a mountain of information, but you will also gain access to the most relevant pieces of data, which will result in better papers.
Antonio is a New Jersey-based hopeless optimist who enjoys basking in the world’s brightest colors. He loves biking to distant places and occasionally he gets lost. When not doing that he’s writing for Edugeeksclub. He will be happy to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter.