Today’s post is a guest post by Brittany Storniolo. She is a Content Marketing Strategist at Flowcite, and an academic writing expert. She holds a first-class Honours degree in Literae Humaniores from the University of Oxford and has been certified in Digital Marketing Analytics by the MIT Sloan School of Management. Brittany has helped over 300 startups craft marketing strategies and business development plans, and has worked with large corporations, such as Microsoft and JP Morgan.
If you’re not using a proper system to organize your ideas and academic research, then you’re going to feel far more overwhelmed and lost when it comes time to write. No matter how much work you get done, you’ll never really know how close you are to finishing if you aren’t monitoring your progress. In this article, we’ll see how academic software helps with time management, cross-device synchronisation within a group, and optimising your research process overall.
Project Management in Research
Project management is designed to handle highly technical development and projects, including research writing. It normally involves tasks like planning, scheduling, budgeting, and controlling every aspect related to the project. Project management in academia, or scientific project management, begins by defining the study’s start and end date. Having a definitive timeline is important no matter whether your research is for school submission or journal publishing.
A typical research process in academia usually goes like this:
- Identifying your research problem
- Searching for Information
- Locating materials
- Evaluating your sources
- Making notes
- Writing your paper
- Citing your sources
There are three key steps to project management, which will guide you on how to effectively manage your research, whether you’re working solo or as part of a team. These are planning, organization and control.
Plan Your Research
First, you need to clarify the objective of your study and plan how you’ll achieve it within the necessary time frame. Here are some questions to ask yourself before starting your study:
- What is the desired outcome of my research?
- Who are the stakeholders that will benefit from the identified outcome?
- What specific tasks are necessary to complete the research?
- How much time can I allocate for each stage of your research?
- What are the risks I might encounter, and how will I manage them?
Once you have clear aims and objectives, it is easier to see the roles and activities you will need throughout your research process. If you have a team, it also helps you delegate tasks and work together. After that, you can start organising roles and assigning responsibilities accordingly.
Organise Your Research
At this point, you will need to determine the hierarchy of each stage and activity needed for your study. This task can look different, depending if you’re working solo or with a group:
- Single author: You need to manage the needs of every activity depending on their relevance and importance to your study. Doing so allows you to allocate more time on the processes that will require more resources. Moreover, it helps you prevent cramming these processes in at the end of your research.
- Collaborative study: Discuss within your group and find out the strengths and weaknesses of each member, as well as how much time they’re realistically able to dedicate to the study. After that, you will need to assign specific roles and responsibilities to each member, maximising their strengths to produce the best quality output you can.
By laying out the whole project and steps clearly, you’ll be better able to adapt to hiccups that come up along the way, as well.
Control Your Research
Finally, you need to observe and document the performance of yourself and your team with a project management plan. This plan should cover the following tasks:
- Ensure that all members of the group are performing their tasks correctly and promptly.
- Track and compare work and results to the study’s objective.
- Adjust your activities or processes to stay aligned with your research objectives.
- Continuously track and resolve problems as they arise.
- Evaluate the quality of all submissions and make edits as you go.
Which Software Can Help
Research writing itself is also a time-consuming task, but there are several academic software options available today that provide students, researchers, and academics an opportunity to nail down their research process. Here’s a quick look at three different types of such software and what they offer:
SAS OnDemand for Academics
SAS OnDemand for Academics is an academic software that uses the latest statistical and quantitative methods from wherever you are. Its features include the same world-class analytics software used by over 82,000 business, government, and university sites worldwide. It also provides free access to their statistical analysis system (SAS), data mining, and forecasting software. The platform improves the research process by offering a technology that helps you to efficiently study research methods, data exploration, and graphical reporting.
OpenWater is software that helps you with the peer review process of your research. Quality peer review is a vital component of the research process that helps validate your study. OpenWater also allows you to host a virtual conference, an important feature during this pandemic. Gather several experts to peer review your research and make sure that your paper is relevant and substantial.
If you’re trying to find a platform that will enable you to bring project management efforts to minimum and focus on actual research, Flowcite can offer an all-in-one solution to save you time on switching among multiple academic writing tools and services. With Flowcite you won’t waste precious time switching from reference manager to text editor, project library or endless browser tabs: instead, you will have all your favourite services put together in one place. The platform gives you instant access to over 250 million scholarly articles, automated citation reference generator, premium proofreading and peer-review services, and a multitude of tools for summarising, editing, and printing your manuscript.
Regardless which software you use, remember that having efficient and effective project management saves you time by being organised from the start. Trying to implement systems halfway through will just cause more delays and eat up time better spent doing other more important tasks.