Information management

During the course of your research project you will gather extensive information and data. This will include the literature and associated notes, citations and summaries, and analysis of existing and new research. Additionally, you will be creating your written data - your thesis, journal articles, presentations and posters. You need to develop strategies and find appropriate tools to help you manage and store this data.

Research and referencing managers

We highly recommend that you find a research and referencing tool early on in your candidature. Not only will it save you time and help you to correctly cite, they are useful in managing and organising your literature.

There are a variety of these tools available for you to use for free. Three popular examples include:

EndNote This referencing manager is available for all ANU students to download and use.
Mendeley Mendeley is a free tool to help you manage your literature research and includes a plugin for Microsoft Word.
Zotero Also a free tool which has the added advantage of being open-source so has many add-ons and plug-ins.

Which one you choose to use is a matter of personal preference. It is a good idea to ask around your school or college to find out what your more experienced colleagues are using. You may find one tool works better in your particular discipline and also find a source of support and information to help get you started.

All these tools will allow you to import and export data regarding the literature you have gathered. They take the metadata from your sources so that these can be used to automatically generate citations and reference lists in Microsoft Word. Each one has multiple inbuilt styles.

These tools also allow you to categorise literature into folders or use tags. They can help you to save, name and organise PDF files. They provide options for backing up your library and accessing your research through cloud storage on multiple devices. The ANU Library offers training and support.

Writing tools

Microsoft Word is the primary tool of choice for most HDR students, however there are other tools that students find very useful. It's a good idea to ask your supervisor and colleagues what they recommend to find out if there are particular tools that work best for your type of research. Some of these tools have a cost associated so seeking advice before purchasing is recommended.

Scrivener A writing tool for managing complex and long documents. Popular in the humanities.
Latex A document mark-up tool which requires some time and expertise to master but popular in some disciplines.
Ulysses Mac based tool with easy to use interface.

Storage tools

All ANU staff and students have access to Microsoft 365 which includes cloud-based storage that you can access from multiple devices via the internet. Other popular storage services include Dropbox or Apple iCloud. These services provide a certain amount of storage for free and then the option to purchase more if you need it.

It is vital that you work out a backup plan for your work. You will need multiple sources of storage - cloud, internal hard drive, USB hard drive. Make a plan to back up frequently to avoid data loss.