Be Technologically-Savvy in Grad School!

Image of woman using smartphone and laptop computer with the text Be Technologically-Savvy in Grad School

By Lucy Zheng

Read time: 2 minutes

It’s the start of the new academic year, and with it comes certain challenges: forming new collaborations, reviewing literature, and preparing manuscripts for submission. But whether you’re a third-year who has a master’s defense paper coming up in the fall or a first-year ready to delve into research, it’s always good to be up-to-date on technology that can help you with organizing tasks, reading articles, and writing manuscripts.

Below are some software programs that SPSP committee members suggest for working at top efficiency. Most of them are available in desktop and app format.

Organization and Time Management Tools

  • Tomato: http://tomatotimers.com/
    • This adorable program is good for time management. It uses the Pomodoro Technique (breaking down work into a set of intervals separated by breaks) to keep your focus on the task at hand.
  • Trello: https://trello.com/
    • This is a collaborative and/or personal task-tracker. Use this board-format software to make sure you don’t forget any of your assignments (or personal responsibilities), big or small. 
  • Wunderlist: https://www.wunderlist.com/
    • This is another task-tracker. You can use this for planning events, tracking multiple tasks, setting deadlines, and sorting by importance or due date.
  • Slack: https://slack.com/
    • This messaging app is a very quick and efficient way to communicate within a lab or group. You can directly message individuals, or create channels (groups) where a message can be sent to multiple people at the same time. 
  • Forest: https://www.forestapp.cc/en/
    • This app-only software encourages you to stay off your phone and focus on your work. For the time that you don’t use your phone, the app “grows” a tree, so over time, you build a “forest”. All in the comfort of your own home. 
  • Study Break App: Apple link
    • This app, which appears to only be available on Apple products, is an anti-distraction tool. Not only can you set a timer for how long you want to study, but this app will also keep track of your efficiency (and you can even export your own data for statistical analysis!).

Research and Writing Tools

  • Paperpile: https://paperpile.com/
    • This reference management add-on allows you to sync PDF’s to Google Drive and cite papers in Google Docs. You can also tag, comment, and write notes. There’s a free 30-day trial but after that it is $2.99 a month. 
  • Mendeley: https://www.mendeley.com/
    • Another reference management tool, this free Word-compatible software allows you to add references easily. You can highlight, comment, and write notes.
  • Readcube: https://www.readcube.com/
    • This reference management tool can be used on desktop or in browser. Similar to Paperpile and Mendeley. However, if you want to link across multiple devices you will need to pay a yearly student fee.
  • Qualtrics: https://www.qualtrics.com/
    • This survey platform is extremely user-friendly, allows you to share projects with collaborators, and can be set to anonymize responses.
  • Jamovi: https://www.jamovi.org/
    • Built on top of R, Jamovi is a free statistical spreadsheet that is an alternative to SPSS and SAS. It is great for creating tables that are already in APA format, but it cannot perform very complex analyses.
  • G-Power: Link to download
    • This is a free software used to calculate statistical power.
  • Evernote: https://evernote.com/
    • This software will help keep your notes organized and synced so that they are searchable and accessible anywhere.
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