Managing my Academic Life

As I start to read more for graduate school, I find myself scouring the Internet for research management tips. After looking all over and reading lots of blog posts, articles, college websites, etc., I think I’ve come up with a system that works for me. I will share my “system” here, but not before pointing out that it might not work for you – it isn’t meant to be a template. Just like I don’t let my students use templates when creating their digital portfolios, I encourage you to find a system/template that works for your own needs. Also, my system will evolve over time especially as new options become available. Having said that, I hope this helps.

Before I begin, the applications that I use are:

On my MacBook Air – Papers, Scrivener, Evernote, dictation (built in)

On my iPad – Notability, Evernote

Papers 3 for Mac and Notability

After comparing reference management software, including a serious look at EndNote and Mendeley, I decided to use Papers for Mac. I have been working with Papers3 and really like the clean look, PDF annotation and management features, built in search, citation shortcuts, as well as the organizational collections, tags, star ratings, and color labeling. While I like being able to annotate within Papers, I prefer to read and annotate PDFs in Notability (on my iPad) – I then transfer the “inked” PDF back into Papers. As a result, I decided not to buy the Papers iPad app.


Scrivener & dictation

I will be using Scrivener for both research notes, i.e. annotated bibliographies (see screenshot below), as well as writing. I found a very helpful Scrivener Users g+ community and I am slowly learning more about the software. My first scrivener “project” is meant to hold all of my research notes from my Fall 2014 courses. I have created folders, as you can see below, as well as templates for taking notes on books and articles. I like that I can upload an “inked” PDF into Scrivener and put it in the folder where I have my notes for that item.

Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 4.43.49 PM

In conjunction with Scrivener, I have been using a built in OSX application called dictation and speech.

dictation and speechI set up my dictation like this —>               Dictation

Now that it’s set up, I can read and dictate my notes into Scrivener! It’s been working well and I can even add “‘s and )’s.


Evernote and Notability (and sometimes google drive)

To take notes in class, I will be using both Evernote and Notability. While in class, I like to “ink” slides in Notability and take most of my other notes in Evernote. As a group, we will probably have shared notes in google drive, so I will probably be going back and forth for my note needs.

What does your system look like? Please share in the comments!