How to Keep Track of Research Literature?


Every researcher has an issue with keeping track of their research literature. There may not be an immediate solution, but there are ways through which one can alleviate the hassle. Not only does it spare you the inconvenience of rummaging through your research content all over again, it also saves you a lot of time searching through your history dating back, days or maybe even months.

Here are a few ways in which you can keep track of your research literature.

There two types of research literature that you may have access to:

  • Online digital papers
  • Offline articles or research books

Both require a different approach. Let’s first see how to keep track of online papers.

1. Bookmarking: 

One method is to bookmark each article by categorizing them in specific folders. Let’s say you are researching automobiles, and you broadly classify it as electric and fuel operated vehicles. Create separate folders for each classification and add the articles that you consider relevant to their respective folders.
Below are a few illustrations.

Bookmarking a website


Categorise you research into separate bookmark folders


2. Documentation:
Keeping track of the research journals you accessed is another method. This might seem a bit cumbersome but is very effective nonetheless.

Documenting your sources

This way, you can revisit a previous search in a matter of seconds.

3. Annotation:

In addition to documenting your research literature, it is also advisable to make a note or write a short descriptive comment for each article or PDF that you use. This is because you may come across a lot of papers and in some instances, forget the essence of a paper you were working on. Annotation will save you the trouble of having to read the paper all over again.

Things to keep in mind while annotating:

  1. Authors
  2. Findings
  3. Does it influence your research and in what way?


To track your offline research literature:

You can maintain a Reading log to help keep track of your sources.

The log must contain the following:

  1. Author
  2. Date
  3. Article Title
  4. Findings
  5. Notes


These are a few effective methods to keep track of your research literature. Research would be ideal when all the sources of your research journals are in one place and there is a single point access to them all. Life as a researcher would be easier then, wouldn’t it?

Imagine the possibility of having a personal library which gives you:

  1. Instant access to all the research journals that you accessed.
  2. Save / Store your favourite articles in personalised folders for quick and easy reference.
  3. Mark Favourite Journals.
  4. Create and Manage Email & RSS alerts.
  5. Download, e-Mail or Print; individual references directly from the search result page.

It’s not just an ideal scenario anymore, J-Gate has made this a reality. You can either make bookmarks, documentation, annotations and reading logs or you could just skip all that and get J-Gate.




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