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How to write a Research Proposal: Free Apps for Research

Useful apps for resaerch

Grammarly (free plan and monthly/annual premium plan subscriptions available) [you can set up your language preference in the Grammarly extension, e.g. South African English]. It also has a plagiarism checker.

See How to Use Grammarly – Beginner’s Guide (YouTube Video), 9 January 2020 (10:37 mins) and How to Use Grammarly Tutorial (YouTube Video), 25 June 2018 (11:25 mins) [this one is more critical and offers advice on tech issues]. Many more videos (probably better ones) on YouTube.

Evernote – useful to students for productivity and time management. Offers working space to store and organise notes, to do lists, ideas, voice memos to self, photos and more, and used to manage tasks, presentations, projects. Basic plan for free and upgraded annual plans for a fee.

How to Use Evernote: Basics for Students (24 June 2017) (7:44 mins), 10 Evernote Tips for Better Productivity (2021) (YouTube Video), 15 June 2021 (4:43 mins) and How to Use Evernote: Stay Productive & Organised Online with Evernote (Beginners Guide) (YouTube Video) (19:16 mins).


7 insanely useful academic apps you’ve not heard about! by Andy Stapleton (YouTube Video) (11:57 mins)

Andy Stapleton mentions the following:

0:00 – introduction 0:24 – paper digest (https://www.paper-digest.com1:43 – writefull (https://www.writefull.com3:10 – (https://www.penelope.ai4:47 – Litmaps (https://app.litmaps.co6:16 – Biorender (https://biorender.com8:01 – Otlet (https://otlet.io9:31 – Kudos (https://growkudos.com11:17 – Summary

He also did one called Best PhD apps: 10+ essential apps for every PhD Student by Andy Stapleton (YouTube Video) (13:18 mins) and it covers: 0:00 Introduction 0:40 Evernote, Google Keep 1:45 Zotero, Mendeley, Endnote 2:55 Asana/Trello 4:35 Grammarly 5:54 7:06 8:40 Headspace, Insight Timer 10:00 Gimp, Inkscape 11:30 Interval Timer


5 essential apps for PhD and research students by Maria B (YouTube Video), 26 May 2020 (8:56 mins)

Very practical tips and evaluations of the five apps she recommends based on personal experience.

Maria B covers: EvernoteZoteroMicrosoft PowerPoint for inserting diagrams/figures/images etc/Microsoft Word … Track Changes/Comments … plugins like Zotero/Mendeley … export options/Notion … for planning, time management … etc.


10+ Applications to Feel More on Top of PhD (YouTube Video) by Vera, PhDCoffeeTime, 20 October 2020 (10:33 mins)

Vera covers: Introduction 0:00 Note-taking and Cross-referencing 2:02 Time-tracking 2:13 Lab-timer 3:10 Biostatistics 3:37 Adding scale bar 3:51 Don't use PPT for posters 4:04 Write professional emails 4:48 Clearing your mind and write better 5:21 Decluttering your PhD 6:06 Why you need to be on Linkedin NOW! 7:02 Agile Project Management like a Pro 7:55

Open access research databases

Elsevier Open Archive

Elsevier provides free access to archived material in selected Elsevier journals.


SAGE Open is an open access publication from SAGE. It publishes peer-reviewed, original research and review articles in an open access format. Articles may span the full spectrum of the social and behavioral sciences and the humanities.


SpringerOpen, launched in June 2010, includes Springer’s portfolio of 200+ peer-reviewed fully open access journals across all areas of science.  The SpringerOpen portfolio has grown tremendously since its launch in 2010, so that they now offer researchers from all areas of science, technology, medicine, the humanities and social sciences a place to publish open access in journals.

BioMed Central

BMC has an evolving portfolio of some 300 peer-reviewed journals, sharing discoveries from research communities in science, technology, engineering and medicine.


JSTOR’s growing collection of Open Access journals cover topical areas in sustainability and security studies, and offer broad coverage in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences.

MDPI Humanities

A pioneer in scholarly open access publishing, MDPI has supported academic communities since 1996. Based in Basel, Switzerland, MDPI has the mission to foster open scientific exchange in all forms, across all disciplines. Our 370 diverse, peer-reviewed, open access journals are supported by more than 115,000 academic experts who support our mission, values, and commitment to providing high-quality service for our authors. We serve scholars from around the world to ensure the latest research is freely available and all content is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY).

Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)

The DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals) was launched in 2003 with 300 open access journals. Today, this independent database contains over 16 500 peer-reviewed open access journals covering all areas of science, technology, medicine, social sciences, arts and humanities.