Research Paper Writing Software: Is It Any Good?

Before the advent of the internet and the rise of the personal computer, the average college student had to toil in their university’s library for hours and hours per week, accumulating research, taking detailed notes, typing drafts up on type writers, and printing using old, temperamental machinery. The process of conducting research and writing papers was, therefore, far more onerous.

These days, there are a wealth of web based and downloadable programs that can ease the burden of the writer. If you are just getting by with a textbook and a basic word processor, you are missing out on a number of useful programs that could make research paper writing far easier and quicker for you to complete. The following are just some of the programs and software applications you can use.

Citation Software

There are programs, both web based and downloadable, that can help you keep track of all the research papers, book chapters, web sites, lecture notes, and texts you use while conducting your research. These programs allow you to log all the reference information with just the click of a button, and then later go back and create an alphabetized, organized reference or works cited page.

Gone are the days of meticulously typing up your references by hand, checking and re-checking your paper for parenthetical citations. Now you can speed up the whole process with programs like Zotero and EasyBib. These programs are typically free to use and available in desktop and browser editions. If you are reading a number of academic sources and are expected to end your research paper with a reference chapter, this is the way to go.

Formatting Programs

If you are writing a research paper for a class or for a degree requirement, odds are you are expected to format your work in a particular style. But learning and navigating all the esoteric, highly specific rules of APA, MLA, or Chicago style can take a ton of time, and almost no one completes a first draft that is perfectly laid out and formatted.

Even worse, some of the common format requirements are impossible or highly difficult in a simple text editor such as Word. How can you be expected to put the page number in the bottom right margin on the first page of each chapter, but in the upper right corner for all the pages following? And how to attain the perfect, measurable margin requirements? Thankfully, there are free downloadable programs that can scan and edit your research papers and insert the proper format styles. Programs such as Perrla and StyleEase can quickly fix your draft and prepare it for your committee.