Tools for Research

Having a few good electronic tools can keep your research process on track and help your writing go more smoothly. There are many tools out there – here are a few free ones that we recommend.


Zotero is a research and citation manager. It can be installed on your computer to hold all of the full-text items you find, and citations for any books or print materials you are using. By syncing with the Zotero server, all of your research can also be available for you online. When the time comes to write your paper and insert citations and a bibliography, Zotero handles the correct citation format automatically for you.

Cloud Storage

When you are writing a paper, you should store it somewhere easy to access. We recommend storing it in the cloud.  It’s a good practice to ‘save as’ each time you sit down to write – just include a version number or today’s date in the new filename.  That way, any bad thing that happens to your file will not result in the loss of all your work – you can always go back to the prior version.

  • Google Drive

    • All Hartford International University student email accounts come with Google Drive.  From your email page, click on the icon at the upper right that looks like 9 squares, then choose Drive.  If you are not familiar with Google Drive, this intro video shows the basics.
  • Dropbox

    • If you do not have have access to Google Drive, or prefer not to use it, Dropbox is another commonly-used cloud storage utility. A Dropbox Basic account is free and can store up to 2 GB of files.

Smart Phone Scanners

Need to copy a few pages from a print journal, or from a reserve book? Use your phone camera as a scanner, and upload the pages to your cloud storage! The tools below do more than just take a photo – they create a PDF with searchable text.

TextFairy (Android) Playstore
There are several good iOS scanner apps. Try one and let us know what you think!

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