Software and Other Resources

Listed below and in the right-hand column are software programs, websites, and other resources we have found to be helpful and time-saving in the process of writing academic papers. Getting and staying organized is a personal pursuit and, as such, we encourage you to check out these resources and others to determine what fits your style best.

Use the form below to let us know about other resources you have found helpful or not so helpful. 


CIIS Laurance S. Rockefeller Library is an invaluable resource for every student, faculty, and staff member at every stage of learning, working, and writing. Appointments with reference librarians are done online. Appointments can be in-person or via phone. For graduate students, we suggest you make an appointment with a librarian to learn the system as soon as you begin your program. Becoming familiar with the library databases will increase your success for find the right sources for your writing projects. Additionally, working with a librarian to identify and hone keywords unique to your field of study will save hours of extra work.


Take an extra step for producing well-written and error-free papers.

Hemmingway Editor helps increase the readability of your writing by highlighting overly long, dense, or complicated sentences as well as weak and passive word choices.

ProWritingAid provides spellcheck, grammar checking, and plagiarism checking features.

Grammerly is an add-in program that highlights grammar and punctuation errors in all your writing, online and in papers.


The programs help you keep your research materials organized and format in-text citations and references/bibliographies.

PERRLA is a time-saving add-in component for Word. The program comes in APA or MLA style. The margins and font are automatically formatted when you open a new Word document using PERRLA and it creates the title, abstract and reference pages for you. You can format headings and subheads to create an automated table of contents. In addition, it creates a master list of all the sources you have used for citations in any paper created using PERRLA. You can try the program free for one paper, then choose to upgrade to the complete version.

RefWorks is an online research management, writing, and collaboration tool designed to help researchers easily gather, manage, store, and share all types of information, as well as generate citations and bibliographies. It allows users to create personal databases and use them for a variety of research activities. References are imported from text files or online databases. The databases can then be used to manage, store, and share the information. Users can automatically insert references from their database into their papers and generate formatted bibliographies and manuscripts in seconds.


Keeping notes organized and finding ways to critically engage with your research material is challenging. These programs offer features to organize and annotate.

Notability is an app for note taking, annotating articles, recording thoughts and organizing ideas. You can add photos, web clips, sticky notes and more to existing documents or documents you create from scratch. Access your work from an iPhone, iPad or from the cloud.

Scrivener is a multi-dimensional writing program ideally suited for lengthy projects like dissertations and books. Organizes notes, writing, ideas and more.


These software programs are alternatives to PowerPoint for presentations, are great for visual and other types of learners, and can fully engage your audience.  If you have used any other software or internet based programs that are presentation oriented and that you would like to share here, please do so.  We would love to know about them!

Popplet is a mind mapping app for use on an iPad or via the web.

Mindomo is a mind mapping tool that is free (up to three maps) or fee-based.

Prezi is another tool to use when presenting in class, easy to use, can be quite visually stunning, and either free or fee-based.

Timeline, by ReadWriteThink, is a quick and easy way to create timelines for presentations by date, time, or event.


Following are a few organizational resources.  Whether it is a short research paper or a dissertation, these tools can help make life a bit easier for you.

Dragon Dictation is speech recognition software letting you dictate faster than you can type.

InqScribe is a useful, free tool for transcribing audio and video files and inserting time codes for research. You can control the playback to align your typing with the speed of the recording.

Diigo lets you annotate and organize web pages for increased productivity and retrieval. You can build your own library so you never lose a valuable online resource, so is a really helpful organizational tool. It is a free resource, easy to use, and can be shared with others.


Stay in touch with peers, your dissertation committee, or other with whom you want to engage online.

Google Hangouts, Skype, Zoom, Cisco WebEx, GoToMeeting, and Free Conferencing are free and/or fee-based video options for meeting with friends and colleagues on the Internet. Some of these options have the capacity to record and download meeting videos.

~ The Wikimedia Family ~

Wikimedia is a family of sites, including WikipediaWikivoyage (a world-wide travel guide), Wikisource (a free library) Wikiversity (a collaborative learning community), and Wikispecies (a free species directory). Remember, for academic do not use Wikimedia as a final source for research. Follow the links to the original sources to verify accuracy.