Managing your research

Post date: 29-Aug-2013 12:19:09

If you are a first year undergraduate, experienced researcher or just a keen exercise professional you will undoubtedly be trying to stay well-informed and on top of current research. This can sometimes be a daunting task but with google scholar, RSS feeds, email lists and social media being informed about the latest research has never been so easy.

Once you have found something of interest it is important to store it somewhere so that it can be easily retireved when you need it in the future and there are a number of ways that you can do this. Reference management software has been available for many years and has been used in academic institutions by many researchers. There are a number of potential products but Mendeley is a great example as it is free to use and offers many of the key features that are needed in this area. Having been purchased for a large sum by Elsevier there are whispers that it may change to meet the requirements of it's new owners but for now it remains a great tool that I would recommend to anyone keen to manage a pile of pdfs that are currently squirreled away on two or three computers and hard drives.

Mendeley allows the user to manage pdfs in a way that is similar to itunes manages your music filies. You can set up folders, search within the text of the pdfs and annotate the files on screen to be stored for later. By simply right-clicking the file you can also produce a citation that can be copied into Word or you can be a bit smarter and use the Word plug-in to create a citation management feature to be used as you type out your latest assignment or paper.

Another great feature is the sync button that enables any changes and new files to be zapped up into the ether so that you can then work on your files across a number of devices and computers. There is even an ipad app, that is not as functional as the desktop version, but does allow you to read your files on a tablet as well. For collaborative work there is the ability to create groups and to jointly annotate and review papers in addition to features that allow for networking with similar students and professionals.

I will be introducing all of my first year undergraduates to Mendeley this year and if you are interested then please watch the video or for more information go to the Mendeley website.

There are a number of other services available and if you are interested then follow this link for a comparison of other software