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Research Process

Getting Organized

Keeping your research project organized is essential for avoiding stress and plagiarism, yet is one of the things many students fail to do well. This page provides information and tools to help you organize your research sources as well as your research project itself. 

Organizing Sources

There are several tools available to keep track of the sources you read, your notes about those sources, and easily create a bibliography from your selected sources.  Some things to consider when choosing what works for you are your comfort with downloading and installing things, whether you are using a personal device for all your work, what you will be creating in the end, and your note-taking needs. Select a tab to see what tools we recommend for organizing your sources:

One of the easiest, low-key ways is a simple research log. Included here is a blank table you can copy and paste into a document, as well as an example of one filled out.


Adapted from Writing Guide with Handbook
     What it says How it relates What I think
Date: Permalink: 
How I found it:  


What it says How it relates What I think
"Despite fearing for their reputations because of their sexually provocative cheerleading routines, every cheerleader I interviewed was... proud of the squad’s technique, and committed to cheering." Cheerleaders are athletes who want to showcase skill and technique in a non-seductive way. Cheer coaches should make conscious decisions about routines that highlight skill and athleticism and not include dance that reduces the athlete to a sexual object. 
Source/Citation: Johnson, Chelsea Mary Elise. “‘Just Because I Dance Like a Ho I’m Not a Ho’: Cheerleading at the Intersection of Race, Class, and Gender.” Sociology of Sport Journal, vol. 32, no. 4, Dec. 2015, pp. 377–94. EBSCOhost,
Date: 8/9/22 Permalink:,sso&db=sih&AN=113169505&site=ehost-live&custid=s8993175
How I found it: I went to SocIndex and typed in cheerlead*

No personal device?

If you are unable to download the software to your personal device, you still have options available to you. You can add an item on the web version using a unique identifier such as the URL, DOI, or ISBN (in both Zotero and Mendeley) or you can import the .ris file (Mendeley only).

Browser extensions provide additional functionality to your web browser. The extensions for Zotero & Mendeley are not standalone products. However, the extensions do make it really easy to pull citation information from a page on the web. As always, you will need to review the information being imported for accuracy. 





With all pre-made citations, you will need to double-check them for accuracy. A common error is when something is mistyped in a title, it will be misspelled or in all caps in your citation. Remember that your citations are part of your academic integrity, and you don't want to leave that wholly up to an algorithm. 

Organizing Research Tasks & Projects

To make sure you stay on top of your projects, you can use one of these free time and project management software/apps to make sure you stay on track. Check out a few of your management options below:



  • Asana is a management tool that allows you to collaborate with team members or work individually to develop a project plan. You can create to-do lists and order your tasks by importance and due date to ensure that you're keeping up with everything. They offer various paid plans, but you can do a lot with their free accounts. 


  • Trello is another great project management tool that offers a great free option. It functions similar to Asana and allows you to work individually or with a group. It also has a different layout from Asana, primarily utilizing "boards" that are set up like traditional to-do lists. 


  • Freedcamp is a tool that offers a little bit more wiggle room with their free option. Like Asana and Trello, they allow you to create task lists for your different projects. It also allows you to see all of your tasks in a larger calendar view and has project-specific discussion boards for you and your team. 


If you're not sure you want to invest the time in keeping up with one of these suggestions, start small. For example, you can set up your Google calendar with your xula email or phone calendar with deadline reminders. Maybe you didn't previously need a calendar to schedule your time and manage your projects, but time and project management are essential skills to have.