What I use

Some projects, new learning experiences and home-life adventures
Last updated

April 3, 2024

I’ve gradually discovered a research workflow that suits my needs (and my budget😅) and maximizes productivity.

I’m leaving a list of the programs/software I regularly use as a way to track the changes to my workflow and also provide guidance to those looking for free resources to increase their efficiency and organization.

Discovery and Idea Generation


  • I use Joplin– an open-source note-taking app with a markdown editor and customizable plugins. Another great option is Obsidian which includes knowledge graphs to organize your thoughts.
  • I use Typora to create stand-alone markdown files. Typora also supports pandoc-flavored markdown which makes it easier to transform markdown to other formats like .docx, .pdf, etc.
  • I use a good ol’ Mead Five Star Spiral Fat Lil’ Pocket Notebook for note-taking (books I read, ideas, summaries, schedules, to-do lists). I’ve tried planners, calendars, apps and none of those things seem to keep me on track as brilliantly as a handwritten note in one of those fat little notebooks.
  • I use Mendeley as my bibliography and citation manager. The free plan includes 2GB of storage, which is more than I need. I store my bibliographies in Bibtex format.
  • I use Overleaf and Detexify which makes finding LateX symbols a breeze. Just draw the symbol you’re looking for and the site provides a list of possible matches with their LateX syntax.
  • I use Natural Speech Reader to help with text editing.

Data Collection and Analysis

Science and Research

  • I currently use R and RStudio for my data analysis and graphing needs, and VSCode for everything else.
  • I used G-Power and piface for sample size calculations, but their utility decreased as I began to use more complicated models.
  • My main statistical programming software was SPSS until 2020, but its lackluster versatility left me disappointed. I especially didn’t like all the clicking and the way their syntax, output, and data panels were set up. Unfortunately, that’s the software of choice in many universities in the U.S., including mine.
  • I also use Notepad ++, a text editor that supports more than two dozen programming languages (not markdown). I sometimes use it alongside VSCode.
  • I use Github and Git Bash to store almost everything I write and for version control.


Graphic Design

  • I’ve used Canva for every design in this website and personal documents. I also have free access to Adobe InDesign but haven’t used it much.
  • I totally recommend Practical Typography, by Matthew Butterick– a typograhpy primer for the graphic designer and the layperson trying to create beautiful documents.
  • I have been learning Pollen, a markup language used to create beautiful digital books.
  • I use PowerPoint to create simple and stunning presentations. I have free access to Microsoft products, and it’s also the best slide editor I’ve seen.
  • I use Google Fonts API for font selection and David Jonathan Ross’ typefaces. My preferred fonts are Arsenal, ETBembo, EB Garamond, Warbler, Livory, Charter, and Cooper Hewitt.


  • I use Dropbox and Google One for file storage and backup. I get Dropbox for free through my school, and I pay for a family Google One subscription. However, both services cost about the same and offer similar storage space (3TB and 2TB respectively).
  • I use the Windows Clock app focus feature to track my time. I’m not easily distracted if I’m working towards a concrete, timed goal so scheduling times of intense mental activity is a huge help.
  • I use Otter.ai as my audio recording and automatic transcription service. I record presentations, interviews, talks, etc. and Otter.ai produces a solid transcript that I can then save or use in content creation.
  • I use Chat GPT to answer all sorts of questions and to guide me in the creative process.


  • I use Yubico and Keybase for privacy and security.
  • I use a 2020 15.6″ i5Core Dell, a 2020 13″ MacBook Pro, and an iPhone 13 mini.


  • Good enough practices in scientific computing detail the process of organizing, structuring, and sharing data and research with collaborators while keeping track of all the changes.
  • Four steps to an applied micro paper, by Jesse Shapiro, outlines the process of writing an academic paper in the applied sciences. It’s a very succinct guide to help students and researchers improve their writing.
  • How to give an applied micro talk, also by Jesse Shapiro, is a brief explanation of why your presentations should be short and engaging, not so tediously structured and technical.
  • Public speaking for academic economists, by Rachel Meager, provides a simple and witty guide to public speaking for researchers and academics.
  • The Plain Person’s Guide to Plain Text Social Science. A useful primer on organizing and structuring your writing and research process in the Social Science sphere. It provides a template for research and writing that you can transform to suit your needs and budget (I mostly use free software except for Typora and Google One).
  • Kieran Healy’s Making Slides guide to creating engaging slides by using layers, highlighting, and repetition to build your argument.