Using software for research can help streamline methods, keep the researcher organized, and improve the quality of the research. While the list below is not complete, the list contains enough software to aid any doctoral student through their research endeavors. The software listed below is recommended from a "doctoral student" viewpoint. Software titles italicized are the programs I use. Logo

If you work for a university or an institution of higher education, check with your organization's bookstore or technology department before purchasing any software. Institutions often offer free or heavily discounted academic software available for purchase for their faculty and staff. 

Another great source for software is (, a legitimate website that offers students and faculty at partnered schools free and discounted academic software.  Use the school finder page to see if your school participates in this program. 

Featured Software

ATLAS.ti is a computer-assisted qualitative data analysis software that facilitates analysis of qualitative data for qualitative research, quantitative research, and mixed methods research.

Grammarly reviews spelling, grammar, punctuation, clarity, engagement, and delivery mistakes in English texts, detects plagiarism and suggests replacements for the identified errors. It also allows users to customize their style, tone, and context-specific language.

Microsoft OneDrive is a file-hosting service operated by Microsoft. OneDrive allows users to store, share, and sync their files. OneDrive also works as the storage backend of the web version of Microsoft 365 Office, allowing users to edit their files directly through the browser.

Charts, Graphs and Workflow Creators

Collaboration & Video Conferencing

A successful doctoral student is one that collaborates with their peers and their faculty. The use of collaboration tools makes the ability to share files, hold virtual meetings, and exchange ideas easier.

File Storage & Backup

File storage and backup is a critical step in protecting your data in the event of a system failure (such as hard drive) or file corruption.  Do not store your data in just one location. Instead, keep copies in at least two locations so that in the event one of the backups become corrupted or damaged, you have a second source. The last thing you want to happen is that you lose critical data during your doctoral program!  

There is a difference between file storage and backing up data. These two differences are discussed below. It is recommended you employ both options.

Cloud-based File Storage:

A nice benefit of using cloud-based file storage is the ability to access your data securely from anywhere you have an Internet connection. This allows you to work "on the go" without maintaining multiple copies on different computers, carrying external devices like flash drives, or keeping handwritten notes that you will use later to update your files. These services work by syncing your data in their cloud so that you have access to the most updated files.

File Backup:

Unlike cloud-based file storage services, a backup service is not intended to serve as a storage location where you edit your files directly. Instead, backup services will back up and keep multiple versions of your data so that you can restore in the event of lost or corrupted files. When backing up your files, you also want to make sure you back up any data from programs, such as Atlas.ti, SPSS, EndNote library, etc.

Grammar, Punctuation and Plagiarism Checker

Misc. Software


Effective note-taking is a fundamental part of being successful in any program. As you progress through a doctoral program, you will collect a lot of information that will contribute to your body of knowledge and later help you as you progress through your dissertation. Collecting, organizing, and retrieving this information later in the program is critical. Thus, great effective note-taking starts on day one. Picking the best method for note-taking from the start will allow you to build a repository of information that help you later in the program and even after you graduate (I often refer back to class notes). It does not matter which software you pick -- the key is to have a structured and organized process in which to store your notes.

Presentation Software

Presenting research or other scholarly material is a common practice and an excellent way to feedback on your work. The ability to present your research can be challenging. But using software designed to present your research can aid in this process.

Qualitative Data Analysis

Qualitative Data Analysis is the process in which a researcher examines information (such as scholarly articles, interviews, surveys) to identify patterns and themes to answer a research question. This process is referred to as "qualitative coding." 

Quantitative Data Analysis

Quantitative Data Analysis is the process of analyzing numerical data, such as through descriptive data or inferential statistics. 

Reference Managers

Reference managers aid in the electronic management, organization, citation, and referencing of articles and documents. While this process can be managed manually, dealing with a large number of references can be overwhelming and increases the chances of mistakes.

Screen and Audio Recording

Screening Software

Screening software aids a researcher in reviewing large number of articles to determine if those articles meet the inclusion criteria for the study. While this can be performed manually, screen software streamlines the process while documenting the decision making process. 


Word Processor

Although there are alternatives to Microsoft Word, it is highly recommended that students use Microsoft Word for their word processor. Being the most popular word process on the market, reference managers and other add-on softwares (such as Grammarly) are compatible with Word. Additionally, as students, you will be sharing documents with your faculty and other students and using a the same program will avoid compatibility issues. TIP: Checkout for a free copy of Microsoft Office Suite.