Nifty Research Tools for Writers

Whether you’re working on a report, a paper, or an article, good research skills is always key to developing a solid piece. Research helps you learn about the subject, to uncover facts and ideas previously unknown to you, and points you in new directions. When you want to beef up an interview, researching about the person or subject can boost your questions and allow for a smoother discussion. 

Back in the day, research was done manually. To do some research, one would have to physically go to a library and use books, newspapers, and even microfiche readers. Nowadays, people simply have to go online to do their research. Whether you use Google or RSS feeds to find information, the Internet is the best place to find whatever you’re looking for. However, once you’ve gathered the information or leads that you need, the problem is where to store all of it. Sure, you can dump everything in a Word processor or text file but it wouldn’t be that efficient and organized. 

To help you streamline your work, here are some nifty tools you can take advantage of:

Evernote 

As sure as its tagline “Remember everything” goes, Evernote is a powerful tool for capturing and arranging your notes. It allows you to create notebooks for specific projects and add keywords (tags) to your notes to make them easier to locate and sort. Additionally, you can use browser extensions like Evernote Clearly and Evernote Web Clipper to help you capture information. Evernote Clearly gets rid of all the crud from a webpage—like navigation, and ads, while Clipper allows you to grab text and save it directly to Evernote. 

Simplenote

Simplenote is a minimalist note-taking app that prioritizes short but elegant functionality over redundant features. It has very useful features like tagging and version history, wherein the latter lets you see the previous eight versions of a note, which is an especially helpful option if you frequently want to use its Collaborate feature, a function that lets you share your note with someone. 

Instapaper and Pocket

When you’re on the go, there’s really no time to read or remember everything you see on the Internet. Whether you want to quote a source, or do more research on a topic, it’s hard when you have to put them off because you simply don’t have the time. With services like Instapaper and Pocket, you don’t need to worry about forgetting that awesome article anymore. These bookmark and read-it-later apps essentially do the same thing: they let you save articles, videos, blog posts, or whatever you come across while browsing so you can read them later on your device your computer even if you’re offline. 

Pocket is the more feature-packed of the two as it can save embedded videos in any article so you can watch it online, send articles to other people via email, or straight to other Pocket users. You can also choose from two views on the home screen, and a traditional card list view. 

Angela Gaddi
Angela Gaddi Hire Me

Freelance Writer

Angela writes about IT security, privacy, free speech, politics, social media, and the intersection of business and consumer tech. Has a special aptitude for privacy, cult literature, film noir.

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