Software & Online Resources for Research summary of my 7 part series


I just finished my 7 part series about software and internet resources for research.
Part 1, “Inspiration for an Idea,” can be found here

part 2, “Literature Review,” can be found here,

part 3, “Research,” can be found here,

part 4, “Transcription”, can be found here,

part 5, “Analysis,” can be found here,

part 6, “Write up,” can be found here,

and part 7, “Publishing,” can be found here.

I hope to make the seven parts into wiki pages so that I can add resources as I learn about them and so that others may add their resources as well.

There are a few themes in almost each entry that I wanted to reiterate one last time. I mention the use of wikis and mind maps in many stages as a tool for organization, as well as maintaining PDFs in Yep.
Organization in research is very important and there are a lot of software and online tools that can help!

Related posts:
GTD – anthropology style
How to “network” as an (online) anthropology student

Software & Online Resources for Research (Part 4 of 7) “Transcription”


This is part 4 of a 7 part series about software and internet resources for research. Part 1, “Inspiration for an Idea,” can be found here and part 2, “Literature Review,” can be found here, and part 3, “Research,” can be found here.

After you conduct your research, the next step will likely be transcribing your interviews and/or focus groups, etc. I only have experience with transcribing one-on-one taped interviews and taped focus groups. I’ve tried a few different transcription software programs and Express Scribe is by far my favorite. It’s free software that is compatible with both Mac and PC (so the free part is a benefit). The reason that I love Express Scribe is the features it offers. It’s compatible with Microsoft Word, so you can set up “hot keys” (or short cuts) that allow you to play, pause, rewind, and fast forward while in Word i.e., you’re typing in Word and without switching back to Express Scribe you use “control+d” to pause. It makes the process much easier and you save a lot of time by not having to switch back to Express Scribe. Two other great features are playing in slow motion and automatic rewinding of 5 seconds upon pause.

I do not have any experience with transcribing video, but the other RA in the online-on-campus comparison research project used Transana to transcribe the class discussions in the on-campus class. I don’t think it was her favorite software, but it worked well enough. Transana is no longer free, but you can download an older version from their website for free. You can purchase a copy for $50 and it is compatible with Mac and PC.

I also like to make a few notes about possible themes/hunches while transcribing and to do this I usually use a mind map. I’m always super careful to make these notes because it’s really too early to be thinking about themes- but I always “test” them against the data once it is available.

Related post: My first experience with Express Scribe

Software & Online Resources for Research (Part 2 of 7) “Literature Review”


This is part 2 of a 7 part series about software and internet resources for research. Part 1, “Inspiration for an Idea” can be found here.

I started off part 1 by saying this series would be better as a wiki and I’ve already proven that to myself, I made several additions to part 1 yesterday and will make a few more today. As I flesh out the notes I’ve written for the stages I keep thinking of new things and finding new links.

Now that you’ve spent some time cruising the internet and thinking about what sort of research project you’d like to do, I’m sure your inspired to pursue your project. What should your next step be and how will the internet and software help you? Well, if you’re following a traditional approach to your research, your next step is to do some review of existing literature.


If you’ve read this blog for any amount of time then you most likely know that I am hyper-organized. It’s very important to be organized with your research from the get-go and if you didn’t start to do this while you were seeking inspiration now would be the time to do it. There is a sea of electronic articles and even if you’re interest lays in an obscure topic, you’ll have many articles to keep track of.
My recommendations for organizing literature are bookmark the articles and to store the downloadable PDFs in a PDF data software program, such as Yep. I’ve also hear of using EndNote to keep track of bibliographies, etc. I have no experience with this software (I tried it and lost interest quickly) but it comes highly recommended.
If you start this early you’ll thank yourself in the long run!

Now is also a good time to consider maintaining a wiki or a mind map to organize your thoughts.

Literature Reviews

One of my favorite parts of anthropology is the fact that its work is best when complimented by another discipline. Many (American) anthropologists specialize in a more focused topic within one of our four sub-disciplines, i.e. public health, policy, environment, etc. Remember when your searching for literature DO NOT limit yourself to articles, etc. that say “anthropology”- think of what other disciplines might have something to offer.

Where to find literature

Don’t forget about the places where you found your inspiration in the first place, look for their recommendations, bibliographies, etc. typically gives really good book descriptions and most books have customer reviews.

Look for people that work in the area you’re interested in. Some professors share their syllabi online and if they don’t, you can always email them and ask if you can have a copy.

Search the bibliographies of related articles.



Anthropology Review Database

Open Directory Project

List of anthropology journals here.

Open Access Journals here, here, and here .

This list is by no means exhaustive, so I’ll continue to add to it and I am interested to hear about other resources you all are using.

Software & Online Resources for Research (Part 1 of 7) “Inspiration for an Idea”


Again, this blog post would be better off as a wiki and I’m still working on that.

I’m currently working on my fifth research project, and while that by no means makes me an expert I have collected quite a few software & online resources that I use to organize, inspire, and manage the elements of my research. I’m organizing the resources in the traditional research outline- having the idea, literature review, research design, transcription, analysis, write up, and “publishing” findings. Depending on your approach to research i.e., grounded theory, etc. and the scope of your research i.e., project vs. paper, you may need to re-order the outline or you may want to pick and chose from the list.

I’ve decided to break the list into a seven part series to avoid the posts being 20 pages long. Here’s part 1

Be sure to bookmark all of the webpages that you find of interest so that you may reference back to them! I prefer, but there are many social bookmarking websites and you can also use your browser to bookmark.

I find wikis to be particularly useful in keeping track of my thoughts, websites, etc. Learn about wikis here.
Mind mapping software is also a very easy way to keep track of your ideas for a project. Learn about mind mapping here.

Inspiration for a Project

Here are my recommendations for places to get inspirations for projects- it’s important to note that you should not copy others’ ideas, but expanding your horizons about your knowledge of what others are doing, and your knowledge in general, is a great way to get new ideas.

  • Podcasts & Videos

  • SfAA podcasts (not up right now, but will be after the 2008 Meeting)
    Other anthropology podcasts
    Google video search for “anthropology”
    Bookmarks on for “anthropology+podcast

  • Blogs

  • Bookmarks on for “anthropology+blogs‘s list of anthropology blogs
    Four Stone Hearth (anthropology blogging carnival)

  • Listservs

  • This website has a good list of anthropology listservs
    This is the AAA (American Anthropological Association) list of listservs

  • Forums

  • MySpace anthropology-related forums via Moving Anthropology Student Network

  • Social Networks

  • Twitter
    SfAA ning network
    Linked In
    Moving Anthropology Student Network

  • Online Journals

  • a list of online social science journals
    Another good list of online journals

    I find reading (be it online, books, articles, etc.) and engaging in conversation (virtual and face-to-face), specifically with people whom have different views/interests, to be my inspiration for both research and live in general- the above ways are the places that I do this online.

    What are the ways you find inspiration online?

    Related post: How to Network Online

    Software review PDF database Yep (OSX)


    I have two qualities that are a blessing and a curse: I’m hyper organized & I plan for the future. Over all I’m very happy that these two traits have naturally become a key part to how I approach life. However, I do consider them a curse at times because they are both super time consuming!

    Anyhow, when I was helping to develop our syllabus for our design anthropology course this summer, I realized that I would be reading over 40 articles and would have to produce a paper in the end. This was a somewhat dizzying thought at first until I decided to organize the articles (all PDFs) along the way.

    I’ve messed around with a few PDF database/organizing software products in the past and none of them met my requirements, until the recently updated release of Yep. Yep is software that is only OSX (Mac) (I switched to a Mac because of the software that is available!) compatible and costs $34 USD for the full version. There is a free trial version though! In my opinion it’s totally worth the $34.

    Awesome features of Yep: you can tag articles and write a summary of them (however long you want), then you can search those tags and summaries to find what you need. This makes future referencing of articles for papers, etc. super easy.
    Downfalls: only for OSX & the files have to be in PDF format (but the Mac has software that comes with it to allow you to convert to PDF easily).

    For this design anthropology course we had to write an annotated bibliography of each article. So from week 1 I would read an article, write the annotated bibliography, then pull up the PDF in Yep, tag it with the appropriate tags and copy & past the bibliography into the description field. I use broad tags such as “history”, “introduction”, “methods”, “case studies”, “theory+analysis”, & “theory+approach”. I also use more specific tags i.e., “PD”, “CSCW”, “semiotics”, “McCracken”, “IDEO”, & “Wasson”.

    I’m currently in the process of outlining my paper for design anthropology. It will be about 10 pages long and cover “what is design anthropology”, “history of design anthro”, “common methods”, “common theories of approach”, “common theories of analysis”, “how design anthro is different from academic anthro”, “how design anthro is beneficial to design” and the “pro’s and con’s of design anthro”. If this seems like a lot of topics, it is, but each topic will only have about half a page or so. For each topic I use the search feature on Yep to see which articles I should work from. As I write I’m realizing which tags should be added or removed from certain articles and adjusting accordingly. Yep is making the process of writing a paper that references 40 articles super, duper easy!

    I love the new version of Yep so much that I’ve gone back through my old PDFs and tagged them too. Maintaining the PDFs once a week this summer (adding them, tagging them, & writing the description) was so easy that I will continue this process moving forward.