While I’m still a fan of handwritten notes, and I do have a paper-based fieldwork notebook, I’m also someone who believes in how information technology can aid scholarly research and university-level teaching. This fall, I am teaching Regional Development (for fourth year undergraduate students) and State and Local Government (for third year undergraduate students). I decided to include an assignment where they send me analytic summaries of newspaper clippings related to their final project.
To undertake this assignment, my students will be using Evernote. I have been using Evernote to file important documents, for fieldwork, to clip newspapers and save important research notes. I would LOVE to write a detailed blog post on how I use Evernote in my research, but that would take precious time. So what I’m going to do is to describe what my students’ assignment will be about, and share with you my public Evernote notebook on how other academics use Evernote in their own research and teaching and fieldwork.
So, on to the assignment. To do this assignment, I asked my students to download Evernote Desktop on their computers and the Chrome extension (it’s also functional on Safari, Opera and Firefox). My students will need to create a new Notebook where they will be saving the clippings they come across (or search). They can create this Notebook on the web version or on the Desktop. Usually I do it on the Desktop version. To use Evernote you need to create a user account, and the basic version is 100% free.
On top of each clipping, I’ve asked them to write a short analytic summary of what the article is about. Once a week, they can email their clippings or simply share their Evernote Notebook with me (as I show below). I shared my own Evernote notebook on how to use Evernote in academia as well.
Evernote allows you to “join” a Notebook (and you can contribute) or simply seeing it. The idea is that by doing this kind of systematic approach to gathering clippings they will also find it useful for their own thesis writing and research. And hopefully my blog’s readers will find this useful for their own fieldwork, teaching and research.
FULL DISCLOSURE: I have absolutely no financial stake on Evernote, I don’t get paid to promote it, I don’t get freebies. I just simply use it for my own research and teaching, and I find it enormously valuable. So far, I haven’t brought myself to pay for the premium version even though it’s super cheap.