Tuesday, April 22, 2008

What research tools do you use?

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Research papers are a mainstay on college campuses, for faculty and students alike. So how do you keep track of all the articles you find and then cite correctly? Here are the tools I have experimented with:

1) Delicious: If you are using it for weblinks - why not the links to your articles? It allows for "one stop" use for all of your web tools. ut since it was not developed for research, like some of the other tools, it may not have all the bells and whistles you need for a dissertation.

2) Endnote: The program of choice for profs on my campus. It is pretty pricey (between $100-$250 depending on the academic discount you are eligible for). It helps you create a searchable database of articles. Profs love this because their research can span multiple years and everything is in one place. It also integrates with Word so that your citations are in the appropriate format.

3) RefWorks: This is currently the main option for NC State students. It is offered free through the University and integrates with the Library search system including subscribed systems like ERIC. It also has integration with Word, but its main drawback appears to be persistent access to the internet - no offline working.

4) Zotero: Seems to be a combination of Delicious and Refworks. Allows for any website to be bookmarked, but provides more tools than delicious. It integrates with Firefox, and may be the best free option available.

I'm placing my money on Refworks - not just because it is "officially used" on my campus. But because it suits the way I do research - which is mostly online database searching. I think one of the hardest parts of coming to college was adapting to how such a huge Library works. I used to go back to "my" library in Winston-Salem in college because I knew where to find everything. When I came back to State in 2004, research was a whole new ballgame. All the articles I need are in PDF online - no more photocopying. But I had to learn a new way to find the articles I needed and keep track of them.

Does anyone use anything different?

1 comment:

EDin08 said...

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