Resources and tools for research
Find tools to help with the research process and resources to build your research skills and career
Resources for developing your research skills
Resources covering multiple research skills
- Tips on Doing Impactful Research, created by Silvana Hultsch and Ronja Lutz, explains how you can increase your ability to do impactful research.
- How to do great research, a site giving advice on many aspects of doing research, aimed primarily at PhD students in computer science but featuring a lot of broadly applicable advice.
- How to do research that matters discusses techniques for producing impactful, decision-relevant research.
- The Research Skills Toolbox from CERI links to many resources for honing your research skills.
- How Effective Altruism Can Help Psychologists Maximize Their Impact explores how to incorporate ideas from EA into psychology.
- Researching and writing for Economics students by David Reinstein
- The 80/20 rule can be a useful heuristic when prioritising your time.
- Struggling with perfectionism or prioritising? Consider half-assing it with everything you’ve got.
- Getting things done by David Allen describes a popular productivity system (summary of the general approach here).
- Deep Work by Cal Newport looks at the importance of focused work without distractions.
- How to read a paper, a guide to the ‘three pass’ approach.
- Literature review matrix, a worksheet to help you follow the ‘three pass’ approach.
Developing a research question
- Building a theory of change for your research is a presentation that explores the different ways your research could have an impact and guides you through creating a theory of change for your research. You can view the workbook that goes with the presentation here.
- Scribbr has this useful framework for identifying and developing a research question to writing a research proposal.
- Improving your statistical questions is a free online course by Daniel Lakens.
Open Science and pre-registration
- What it is and how to do it (for registering randomized control trials specifically see the AEA RCT registry).
- Also see this list of journals doing registered reports (see the “participating journals” tab)
- See the Standart Operating Procedure for when you come across a situation you haven’t mentioned in your preregistration.
Doing reproducible and ethical science
- The Guide for Reproducible Research, an open source guide on creating reproducible, ethical and collaborative data science.
- The PhD Toolkit on Transparent, Open, and Reproducible Research by Open Science Framework.
- This MOOC by Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in Social Sciences.
- This course on improving credibility in social science research by Policy Design and Evaluation Lab.
- Improving your statistical inferences Coursera course by Daniel Lakens
- See UCLA’s guide to using G*Power and more resources here.
- Read here how to increase your power if your resources are limited.
- List of Computational and Data Analysis resources by Maximilian Kasy
- Data visualisation using R, for researchers who don’t use R to increase reproducibility and transparency.
- The Writing Workshop: Write More, Write Better, Be Happier in Academia is a free book aimed at early-career researchers.
- This document also contains many useful links and tips on honing writing and communication skills.
- Scientific Writing Coursera course by Kristin Sainani
- Tips for Writing Technical Papers, a CS-oriented guide to writing a research paper
Writing a literature review
- Writing a literature review (economics)
- Yale Library Guide to Literature Reviews (political science)
- Literature review for academic outsiders (LessWrong) explains the value of doing literature reviews and links to many other resources
Presenting your research
- How to Envision, Design, and Deliver Engaging Research Presentations
- Presentation Skills Toolbox from CERI (stem oriented)
Tools to help with the research process
Improving your workflow
- Elicit is a GPT-3 powered research assistant that helps with various tasks, including classifying datasets and finding researchers similar to a list you started with, which may be helpful if you’re looking for a supervisor. Students automatically receive access as part of our coaching process.
- SMMRY automatically summarises text to save you time.
- The Brain allows you to organise ideas in non-linear mind maps. We think it’s the best mind-map tool and may be particularly useful during creative research phases and when working in open/new research fields.
- RoamResearch and Obsidian are note-taking tools which present networks of connected notes in graph form.
- Notion and Workflowy are project management and note-taking apps. The Notion personal plan is free with an academic email address.
Finding existing data
- Recommended data repositories by Nature and Google Dataset Search
- List of data repositories by Markus Eberhardt
- Longitudinal Internet Studies for the Social sciences data archive (Netherlands); Data.World catalogue(mainly US), Pew Research Center (mainly US)
- Gov.uk database (mainly from the UK)
- Elicit allows you to enter a question and receive answers from research papers.
- Connected Papers creates a visual overview of your field of study, showing papers that are similar to the paper you started with.
- Semantic Scholar is a literature search tool that provides one-sentence summaries of papers and shows papers that influenced or were influenced by the paper you are reading.
- Scite shows the contexts in which a scientific article has been cited and whether the citations were accompanied by supporting or contrasting evidence.
- LitMaps creates visual maps of citations between research papers and recommends relevant papers.
- ResearchRabbit helps you search for papers and authors, monitor new literature and visualise research landscapes.
- Citation Manager Comparison
- Zotero (with online extension)
- Paperpile (integrated with Google docs)
Running a successful study
Collections of resources
- For psychology and potentially other social sciences, the Compendium of Methods and Stats Resources links to many useful papers, tools and tutorials for the planning and analysing of research studies.
- CloudResearch: Improved service built on top of MTurk
- Reviews of various platforms and more rigorous comparison can be found here.
Building a StudyTools for building online experiments and behaviour change programs:
- Guided Track
- Qualtrics (some universities have paid subscriptions for students)
PublishingWhere to publish your paper (both sites provide recommendations based on your abstract):
FundingMany universities have their own university- or faculty/school-based mini-grants programs to support students with particularly promising research or extra-curricular plans (e.g. exceptional research proposals for their undergraduate, masters or PhD thesis or plans to attend conferences or research-based events to support their research). Try googling something like “special research grants [name of your university]” to find whether yours offer this. The 2021 scholarship guide outlines scholarships available in various universities across multiple countries for undergraduate, masters and PhD students. This site features EA funding opportunities for a number of different cause areas and disciplines and you can also check this post for additional opportunities. For alternative protein research specifically check out the Food System Research Fund.
International, all disciplines
- Undergraduate Thesis Prize in Global Priorities Research (Undergraduate; Philosophy and Economics)
- VCLA International Student Awards (Master and Bachelor; Logic, Computer Science, Mathematics, Philosophy)
- Student International Research Award (Bachelor and Master; Psychology)
- Michael Nicholson Thesis Price (PhD; International Studies)
- Award for Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Research in Biological Physics: (PhD; Experimental, Computational, Engineering, or Theoretical Biological Physics)
- Helmholtz Doctoral Prize (PhD; Energy, Earth and Environment, Health, Aeronautics Space and Transport, Matter, Key Technologies)
- The Joshua Cefalu Prize (Neurobiology)
- German Thesis Award (PhD, all fields)
- RAS Thesis Prizes (PhD): Michael Penston Prize for the best thesis in astronomy and astrophysics, the Keith Runcorn Prize for the best thesis in geophysics and planetary science, and the Patricia Tomkins Prize for the best thesis in instrumentation science for astronomy and geophysics
- BERA Doctoral Thesis Award (PhD; Education)
- UK Data Service Dissertation Award (Undergraduate; Social Sciences)
- The BIHG Thesis Prize (PhD; International History)
- The Sullivan Doctoral Thesis Price (PhD; Computer or Natural Vision)
Internships and other opportunitiesWe do regular searches to identify opportunities that are relevant to our recommended research directions, and are particularly suited to students interested in research careers and early-career researchers. If you want to make use of this service, please apply here. Opportunities relevant to our prioritised research directions can also be found below:
- Effective Altruism Job Postings facebook group
- 80.000 Hours job board filtered by research roles
- This list of EA-aligned research training programmes
- Tom Wein’s Socially Impactful Job Listings
- See 80000 Hours’ Advice for Undergraduates
- Finding a research job in psychology (for undergraduates and recent graduates)
- Common Points of Advice for Students and Early-Career Professionals Interested in Global Catastrophic Risk