Research Writing Tools for Development Workers

My top research writing tools.

In my work as a development worker, I have my best research writing tools at hand to help me put everything in writing.

If you are an aspiring development worker, you should put in mind that your role is to facilitate community and organizations in planning, policy making and among others.

Thus, you need to read more as much as possible.

Consume your vacant time reading articles in development works related to your work assignments.

Aside from that, you should learn how to conceptualize research problems.

Its really hard to find a problem if you don’t know what the problem is. You now have two problems to solve.

All you have to do is read all you can.

Read literature about your chosen topic and locate yourself what can you contribute on their knowledge world.

From time to time, make some notes and keep it handy. You don’t need MS word to do this.

Here are my best softwares as I do research work as a development worker.

Best Softwares for Mind Mapping


In making notes I used a special software called Scapple. Its a handy tool for mind mapping and brainstorming. This is one of my secret research writing.

As the name suggest, you can scribble anywhere on your window.

  • Drag it anywhere and connect similar ideas with arrows and assign colors to it.
  • Export it to pdf, rtf or txt file.
  • Customise the appearance of notes including font style, colours and a choice of border styles

Scapple is an easy-to-use tool for getting ideas down as quickly as possible and making connections between them. It isn’t exactly mind-mapping software—it’s more like a free form text editor that allows you to make notes anywhere on the page and to connect them using straight dotted lines or arrows.

If you’ve ever scribbled down ideas all over a piece of paper and drawn lines between related thoughts, then you already know what Scapple does.

Here is a sample of my work in Scapple.

scapple mindmapping

I don’t have to convince you about it. Just try it and see how it helps your brainstorming process.

Here’s what I did when I conceptualized my work Vulnerability Index Management System.

If you ask me how much does it cost.

It’s only $14.


When I did my research on Climate Change vulnerability, I used one of this research writing tools to make wireframe for my computer program. An open source program used to create wireframes- perfect for marketers who use mobile apps in marketing.

With this you can create your own design with a drag and drop interface- even a gradeschooler can do it. Look at my work below. research writing tool pencil

After having the design you can give it to your programmer and launch your mobile apps for your offline business.

Get it here at  Pencil.



Scribus is an open source desktop publishing software. When we say open source, its definitely FREE. Download Scribus here.



If you are on a budget, try this alternative is mindmapping software Freemind. It’s not that complicated but I don’t use it.

And by the way, this is Freemind is absolutely free.

FreeMind is a premier free mind-mapping software written in Java. The recent development has hopefully turned it into high productivity tool. We are proud that the operation and navigation of FreeMind is faster than that of MindManager because of one-click “fold / unfold” and “follow link” operations.

Some of its features includes:

  • Fast one-click navigation, including folding / unfolding on one click and following links on one click at the same time (you don’t have to make choice between fast following of links and fast fold/unfold). You can move the map by dragging the map’s background as well as using mouse wheel.
  • Smart Drag’n Drop, including the possibility to copy nodes or copy style of nodes; dragging and dropping of multiple selected nodes; dropping of texts or list of files from outside
  • Smart copying and pasting into, including pasting of links from HTML or structuring the pasted content on the basis of the number of leading spaces in a line; pasting of lists of selected files
  • Smart copying and pasting from, including plain text and RTF (MS Wordpad, MS Word, MS Outlook messages).

Go to there website to learn more.


In writing your research proposal, just write freely, never mind the grammar while writing because you can get to it later.

One of the research writing tools that is helpful in checking grammar is Ginger.

It has a free feature and of course once its free it has limitation. You can upgrade to premium to use the full premium. Once you download the Ginger, it is integrated in MS word and will work only if you have internet connection.

Lastly, when you submit e-copy of your research or extension proposal make sure that it is protected or secured.

How can you do this?

Now a days, articles in the internet can be easily copied and paste.

Of course, you don’t want to waste you time, effort and idea writing your research proposal and let others stole it.

In order to protect you e-copy. Use this free, again free Pdf converter that has a feature to secure your file.


What it does?

It disables other users to copy your text from your pdf file and also disables to print it.

Pdf995, PdfEdit995 and Signature995 are all FREE. However, for $9.95 you may purchase a key to remove the sponsor page which displays each time you run Pdf995. For $19.95 you may purchase aSuite key which works for all three of our products. Purchasing also entitles you to email support by software engineers (12-hour response time).


I used this software for taking large notes in the web. It can add photos and also sync with your email. It has a free version which I used up till this time. Try it and you will become more productive in your research.

There are lots of note-taking software. But some stands out the rest.

Here is an article on the best note-taking app. As you might have guessed it, Evernote is the number one.

Check out the top four here excluding the number one.


Doing research is time consuming, if you want to make some notes especially the citations. You really need this one. It has a browser plugin and of course its free.

You can make some citations from this software then copy it later to your proposal.

Zotero is a powerful, easy-to-use research tool that helps you gather, organize, and analyze sources and then share the results of your research.

Gantt Project

No need of messing up with tables in your document. Use this software in making GANTT CHART. This is a free desktop project management app.

You can use it offline.

Its an open source software.

It cost nothing. Just download it.




I just came across with this and it helped me a lot in citing references. If you are not yet familiar with this, get to know it here.

Download Mendeley.

Read my post here on how to use Mendeley in research writing.

Till next time of my best tools for research and project management.

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