Using evernote for research: making notes and organising data

After recommendations from many friends, including academics, I have started to use Evernote regularly. I wish I had started earlier.

I use Evernote in 2 ways:

  • To make notes about specific articles which I attach to the note.
  • To organise my data.

I also occasionally use it to make notes at conferences or events but I generally prefer to write and doodle with a pen and paper at events.

Making notes while you are reading a paper is a great way of connecting specific ideas and concepts to your research by tagging the note. For example, I have just read a great paper about cultural policy which relates to certain ideas but also to one of my interviews. By using tags I have connected my notes to an issue I raise in my lit review and to a quote by the interviewee. It will be really easy to find using the tags.

My research is qualitative and I have done 15 interviews which are each between 1 and 2 hours. As part of the process of analysing and organising the data, certain themes became important and I knew they would connect to the broader question. I created folders for each of the interviewees and tags for all the themes. This has enabled me to collect quotes for each interviewee creating separate notes for each person but using the same themes as tags. Now all I need to do is use one of the tags, say ‘cultural capital’, and all the quotes tagged ‘cultural capital’ are collected together.

I have not finished my research yet but so far, this has been really helpful.

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