Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Top 10 Tools and Software for Researchers

In the 21st century, writing a research paper is easier than before. With the right tools, you don’t even have to leave home. Every worker needs a toolbox and a researcher is no different. Tools for encoding, analyzing, collaborating, publishing and sharing are freely accessible online. This article will discuss several tools and software necessary for a student researcher and professional researchers. 

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1. Citations and References Manager. Aside from organizing your topic, you also have to organize your references. Doing it manually can be tedious, also if you plan to delete in your citations, you have to delete it in your references. It seems fine if you only have 4 - 5 citations to sort out. But what if you have at least 30 references, you may not be able to remember what you have added or deleted in the first place, that is why you need to go over the references again which is very time-consuming. To remedy this, you may use applications to manage your references. One of its advantages is that you can link the citations and reference manager app to the Microsoft Word, thereby downloading the citations from the chosen journal and it will be automatically added in your paper. In your paper, if you delete an author from the citation section, it will automatically disappear in the references section, and vice versa. 

2. Plagiarism Detection Software – Plagiarism is taking someone else’s ideas and claimed it as your own. Plagiarism is an act of cheating. It can ruin a person’s credibility. In far severe cases, plagiarism can result in legal action, fines, and penalties. Plagiarism may be intentional or unintentional. Before submitting it to your professor or the publishing journal, have your paper check first with a plagiarism tool. Many online plagiarism detection tools are freely accessible, but it is not that accurate in filtering out plagiarism compared to its paid counterparts like Turnitin. While free plagiarism online tools are not at its best in plagiarism detection, might as well use one, instead of none. 

3. Grammar Checker- Aside from plagiarism checker, it is also important to check your content of spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors. A poorly written manuscript cannot possibly communicate its intended message to the readers. Just like a plagiarism detection tool, grammar checker is also freely accessible online. Free accounts will just check for spelling and simple grammar mistakes. You need to upgrade your subscription to a premium account to be able to check major grammar mistakes, wrong choice of words, etc.

4. Online Collaboration Tool - Gone are the days when you have to cancel your meeting with your groupmates because of bad weather or unforeseen circumstances. Nowadays, you don’t even have to leave home to hold meetings or share outputs with your collaborators. Collaboration is sharing new ideas and brainstorming concepts and it can also be done as long as you are connected to the internet. 
Doodle is the easiest way to schedule a meeting with your classmates or colleagues. 
Google Drive, Dropbox, and OneDrive allow realtime collaboration by sharing documents, video presentations, spreadsheets in cloud storage.
The following tools and software are also used for collaboration:

5.  Academic Platform - These are social networking sites for academicians and researchers. It is the platform where you can upload or download researchers, ask and answer questions, or a site where you can find collaborators in your field. Researchgate and Academia are examples of social networking sites for academics.

6.  Statistical Tools - SPSS (Statistical Analysis Software Package) is commonly used as a tool for analysis and interpretation of data. It even comes with a simple interpretation feature in its new line of versions. SPSS was acquired by IBM in 2009 and its current versions are named IBM SPSS Statistics. One disadvantage of this software is the price. Nowadays, most academic institutions have acquired a license for this software to help students with their statistical analysis. Other statistical tools are:
Gretl, a free statistical tool mainly for econometrics. 
GraphPad, statistical package tool for scientists.
Easy Calculation, freely accessible tool for math calculations. 
SocSciStatistics and VassarStats, are tools for basic statistical computations.
SPSS Amos, also by IBM. This is statistical software for higher statistical analysis like Path Analysis, Structural Equation Analysis, etc. Amos is used together with SPSS to acquire the intended statistical results.
Stata is another statistical software that is mostly used by econometrics. It was created in 1985. Most of its users work in research, especially in the fields of economics, sociology, political science, biomedicine, and epidemiology.

7.  Office software - One famous office software tool is the Microsoft Office - Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. These are desktop productivity applications specifically used in the office or businesses. Now, it has become the most commonly used software for academicians and researchers alike. This software allows for encoding of information, creation of charts and tables, visual presentations, etc.  Other alternatives to Microsoft Office are: 

8. Journal Database- This is a must for every researcher. Without journals, it is even impossible to make one. As mentioned in my other article (Comprehensive Guide in Writing the Related Literature) the majority of your references must be coming from scientific or published sources. These databases will help you find the right journal for your field or topic.
9. Image Editor- If your study needs to present images, it must be of high quality or high resolution, otherwise it will not be accepted by the publisher for journal publication. There are tools available to edit your images. Usually, the images generated from these online tools are freely downloadable with acceptable quality. You have the option to download the image with the highest resolution, but with a corresponding fee, of course.

10. Digital Identifier- The world is full of researchers. Because of that, there is a greater chance that you will encounter a researcher with the same name as yours.  ORCID provides a unique identity to professionals engaged in research. ORCID stands for Office for Research and Collaboration Information Once registered, users will receive a unique digital identifier so they can link their published articles and other academic activities. Through this digital identifier, it makes a huge difference to the author’s ability to gain credit for their work and is a useful tool for academic institutions as they track and monitor research works.

Do you know of a tool or software not mentioned here? Please share it with us by giving us a comment below :-)


  1. ASANA, Easily organize and plan workflows, projects.

  2. ChemSketch allows you to write Molecular structure of compounds including 3D representation.

    1. thank you so much, i'll put that on the list :-)

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