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Organizing Your Research

This guide will provide you with some strategies and tools for organizing your notes, readings, references, and more!

The Importance of Staying Organized

Graduate students often find it difficult to stay on top of journal articles, reading notes, book chapters, reports, this-and-that obscure reference, and all the other materials that we come across in our research. Organizational strategies that worked for you as an undergraduate or in your previous workplaces may not be able to accommodate the flood of information we encounter in our graduate studies. This guide will provide you with some organizational tools and best practices drawn from the lived experiences of graduate students themselves to help you consider how to improve your own workflow.

Why develop a system for organizing your research?

  • Keep track of readings: which article said this or that, which author has written on this particular topic, etc.
  • Automate as much of your workflow as possible. Your time is valuable and should be spent on furthering your research or spending time with friends and family, not on keeping track of your footnotes or formatting your bibliography.
  • Work from anywhere.
  • Stay sane!

What you will get from this guide:

  • General tips on how to stay organized
  • Tools, services and software that can help with: (1) citation management; (2) online storage and back-ups; and (3) digital note organization.
  • Examples from graduate students 

Jump to a topic here or navigate this guide using the sidebar on your left.

Video Tutorial