Online technology to support research

Christine Davies

University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Carmarthen Campus, Carmarthen SA31 3EP; Christine.Davies@uwtsd.ac.uk

4th May 2017

Abstract 

There are many web-based applications which can support aspects of research whether part of programme of study, or relating to an academic role. Many of these are available as mobile ‘apps’ and hence easy to use on a range of web-enabled devices. Many are also free to use.

Researchers often need to find out about research methods, analysis, and the philosophical underpinnings of research. Such information can be obtained from ‘Open Educational Resources’ (OER), often produced by universities and other reputable sources. ‘Massive Open Online Courses’ fit into this category, and can provide a cost-free way of acquiring quality information in a ‘community’ context.

Tools for planning and reviewing are also important for researchers. Online mind-mapping tools such as ‘Mindmeister’ (https://www.mindmeister.com), provide visual approaches to these processes, and also have collaborative potential because of the option of simultaneous editing by more than one person. Researchers who make use of surveys can benefit from online survey tools, with sites such as SurveyMonkey allowing for survey administration, and also incorporating a sample size estimator and analytical tools. Referencing is an important issue for researchers, and a further set of online tools can assist with this, for example, ‘Refworks’ and ‘Mendeley’ (https://www.mendeley.com ).

Communication and collaboration is important for researchers to keep up to date and promote their work. Though social media such as Facebook and Twitter can seem trivial, they also have enormous potential in this area. There are also ‘social’ websites with a specifically academic focus such as ‘Academia.edu’.