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  • Tausif Mulla

Streamline Your Research With PowerNotes Extension

Updated: Oct 1, 2020


How to do research smartly?

Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

In the learning process, technology has made our lives so much easier now that every information is available on our fingertips. But trying to find and keep the relevant information for your project or task-organized, you would be in a state to pull your hair or close to it. Be it a college student, blogger or a Ph.D. scholar, we all need to work on research projects that are part of either the college assignment, client brief, or a research paper.

For any research work, one has to curate information from journals, company websites, blogs, etc. to understand the problem and look out for possible solutions discovered by other researchers, this process is called Literature Review. According to the Royal Literary Fund, “A literature review is a search and evaluation of the available literature in your given subject or chosen topic area”. A literature review (also known as lit review) can be conducted with various objectives depending on the researcher’s profile. Students and research scholars would conduct a lit review as part of their academic learning, whereas a blogger or professional may conduct a lit review as a part of a client’s project. Over the years, the content from newspapers, magazines, journals, textbooks have moved from print to digital but “researching” has still been a laborious task of finding, gathering and organizing the right content. The solution to this daunting problem is “PowerNotes”.

As per Wilson Tsu, the founder & creator of PowerNotes, “it unifies the processes for screen reading, saving content, organizing, outlining, and citing sources into a single workflow that efficiently transitions into writing and studying.”

Steps to use PowerNotes

PowerNotes is an extension that you can install in Chrome and Firefox to enhance the research process. Here are the steps to use PowerNotes to make your research process simpler:

Step 1

Start with installing the extension for Chrome or Firefox browser.

Research extension on google chrome web store

Once you have installed the extension you need to create an account. Log into your account and click on the PowerNotes logo to go to the homepage.

Research Projects in PowerNotes application

Note: In a free account, the researcher can only work on one project at a time. Since I am a paid user of PowerNotes, you can see multiple projects in my account.

Step 2

The next step is to name the project that you will work on and add a description to it. Click on the project to add topics. In PowerNotes, topics are the themes or the categories that you want to organize your research into.

How to make themes in literature review

You can start with 4-5 topics and then eventually increase as your research progresses.

Step 3

Once you have added the topics you can start your research by going through different sources such as journal articles, websites, blogs, newspapers, etc.. Use your cursor to select a sentence or entire paragraph that you feel is relevant for your research. When you stop dragging, a menu will pop up with all the topics that you created.

Using various sources in literature review

Select a relevant topic and add your comments, your work will automatically save. The selected text will be highlighted in yellow. Next time you load the page, you will see the same text highlighted in yellow.

Taking notes while during literature review

Step 4

Repeat this procedure until you have collected enough information on the research area. Click on the PowerNotes floating icon to check the outline of your project.

Organizing sources in literature review process

For every topic, you can see the number of sources you have collected and accordingly rearrange the topics if needed. You can even filter the content based on Highlights, Notes, Citation, and more.

Filter the right content in research

For example, if I would like to see all the sources where I have put my comments only, I can select the filter “Notes” to get this view.

Take notes while reading through articles

Step 5

Once you are satisfied with the content that you have curated, you may export it to Word, Excel or, RIS format.

Save your research in google docs or google sheets

I prefer exporting to Excel format as I get a better view of my research content. Here’s how it looks when exported as an excel sheet.

How to do Literature Review using Google Sheets

This sheet is called ‘Literature Review Matrix’. I will start paraphrasing each block and skip the ones which I don’t find relevant for my paper anymore. Once I complete the paraphrasing I simply copy-paste the “Paraphrase” sentences in my Word document and start adding correct citations.

Use PowerNotes application for organizing research

Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

Since the time I have started using PowerNotes application, my research process has become much more streamlined. I encourage you to try this super productive application and make your research work more productive. If you are a doctorate or a research fellow like me, this will benefit you. You may consider starting with a free account and if found helpful you can upgrade to the premium paid account. I have discount codes for monthly and annual plans. With my discount code, you will be charged $3.99 per month instead of $4.99 per month and if you are interested to opt for an annual plan (recommended) then you will be charged $39.99 per year instead of $49.99 per year. You can consider this as a small investment in yourself that will reap you long term benefits in career. If you are interested kindly email me on mullatausif@gmail.com with the subject line “Need PowerNotes coupon code.”

#MBA #Research #PhD #Education

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