Tips & Stories

Evernote for Students: The Ultimate Research Tool – Education Series

Posted by Ron Toledo on 11 Feb 2011

Posted by Ron Toledo on 11 Feb 2011

Whether you’re writing a paper or studying for a test, odds are you spend more time gathering the pieces than actually working. Getting all of your notes together, hunting for quotes, and tracking down bibliographical information takes at least as long, if not longer, as writing the paper itself.

In a group situation, sharing research and collaborating on the production of one document is even more difficult without the proper tools.

Enter Evernote. For students, it’s an invaluable way to organize research and streamline the collaboration process. Here are some examples of how Evernote simplifies the student research process.

Organizing in Evernote

The first step in any research project is, well, the research. This means gathering all of the preliminary information you’ll need to start the writing process. If you’re gathering information using word processing documents, or on paper, things quickly get messy. With Evernote, all quotes, statistics and reference material pages are in one place, easily accessible and searchable by keywords, notebooks and tags. This is especially helpful when information could be coming from all sorts of places – the Web, handwritten notes, typed notes, and even photographs.

Here’s an example of a way to organize your research:

Make a notebook for every project (for example: “Civil War Thesis”).  Then add tags like “sources,” “quotes,” “data” and “important events,” so you can quickly sort through your research at any time. The simplicity of search in a centralized system is one of the biggest benefits of Evernote for research purposes.

Web Clipping

Scrolling through Web pages over and over to find the one paragraph or quote you want to reference is always excruciatingly time-consuming. With Evernote,  just clip the relevant part of a Web page with the Web Clipper, which is available for any browser you might be using. To clip,  select the part of the page you need, and Evernote creates a new note with the title and URL of the page, along with the selected content.

Later, you can easily search through Evernote for this information, because you’ve already weeded out the part you’ll actually need.  Clip long articles and PDFs, quotes and even Wikipedia pages and have them all be in one place. You can search by specific keywords and if needed, easily get back to the original sources by clicking on the embedded source file link.

Collaboration in Evernote

Have you ever sent the same document back and forth, never knowing which version is actually the right one? With Evernote, you can share notebooks with other Evernote users, and if a file or note changes or gets updated, it automatically updates for everyone who has access to the notebook. If you’re a Premium user, you also get note history, giving you a running history of every note in your account that you can easily revert to.

Whether you’re sharing a PowerPoint or a Word document, or a few lines of text, having a shared notebook keeps everyone updated with other people’s progress, and ensures that no one spends time working off of old files.

Search in Evernote

Evernote’s search functionality might be among the most useful feature for students. If you’re looking for a quote, or need a particular statistic, being able to search by intuitive keywords saves a staggering amount of time.

If you’re a Google Chrome user, Evernote’s Web Extension makes search even more powerful: when you search Google, you can also search Evernote at the same time (it’s called Simultaneous Search). When doing a Google for something you might be pleasantly surprised to find out you already have a note about it in Evernote. With this search enabled you can be sure you’ve covered all your bases.

Access Information Anywhere, No Thumb Drive Necessary

As a student, you’re all over the place: in class on your mobile device, at the gym, in your dorm room, at the library, etc. With Evernote, files, notes and documents are available to you everywhere – on your phone, your desktop, and anywhere you have an internet connection. That means that if you’re working in a computer lab, all your research is there. If you lost your thumb drive before your presentation, you can pull up your PowerPoint from a friend’s laptop.

Having everywhere access to your Evernote account also means you can make great use of the in-between time we all tend to have. Whether you’re waiting for the bus, or for class to start, you can make quick edits to anything you’re working on.

Evernote puts everything in one place, and makes it easy to find exactly what you’re looking for, no matter where you are. If you’re doing research, alone or in a group, Evernote saves time and helps keep you organized.

Have any additional tips for how to make Evernote a research powerhouse? Share it in the comments.

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42 Comments RSS

  • theWiredBuddha

    Evernote is a must-have! I use Evernote to track projects, ideas, stories. Attach a handful of tags to a note and I can find what I need. I often email stuff to my Evernote account and I use the tag and notebook symbols. The geo-tagging feature is absolutely handy for recording locations.
    My iPhone is always within arm’s reach, therefore so is Evernote 🙂

    • Todd Terres

      I use it for the same thing, and it’s by far the best tool I’ve found for this.

  • Gareth Lock

    I have posted this on the EN forum but thought the author might be able to help in this request

    where I am trying to extract Notes from an EndNote file with more than 4000 entries. I have the EndNote file and have extracted into both .txt and .xml if that helps.

    Anyone got any ideas?



  • William Hayes

    Endnote question:

    Easiest way if you cant program is to export into a tab-delimited or CSV format, open in a spreadsheet and then copy the Notes column which can then be pasted into whatever you want.

  • deb

    this is awesome. I didnt even know about the web clipper. Thanks so much.

  • Jake

    That’s all fine and well, but my laptop runs Ubuntu and Evernote still doesn’t have a Linux client.

    • Jeff

      I agree, a linux client would be a wonderful addition to the toolbox. Has there been any effort on that front?

      • Kurt

        Look at “Nixnote” that’s what I’m running at home on my Ubuntu machine. It synchs with my Android phone and my Windows work computers. (Used to be called “Nevernote” but you’ll find latest updates under “Nixnote”.) Seems seamless to me.

  • Ally Brantley

    I’m a PhD student and use evernote extensively to prepare for qualifying exams and research. It is my most valuable tool for getting through the program. However, I’d love it if Evernote would add capabilities for citations and bibliographies, or links to Zotero to make academic use of the program even easier.

    • Julia Thornton

      I absolutely second this. I love my Zotero and Evernote. It would be great if they worked together. Third love is Scrivener for writing. Way better than Word. Would be good to be able to import Evernote notes into Scrivener also.

  • Scott Otterson

    I use Evernote almost every day and I really like it. It’s great for collecting a giant pile of unstructured information that you think you might look at again someday. Capture is so easy that it’s almost fun, and searching is dead simple.

    But I don’t think Evernote is good for writing papers.

    The problem is that long papers need exactly the structure that Evernote cannot express — a hierarchical outline, with information occurring in a certain order (the order you’ll write your sentences in). Tags don’t help with that at all.

    Because of this, I rarely store in Evernote information that will be used for a big or complicated paper. For those kind of facts, I use a bibliography manager (Zotero, Mendeley, Cite-U-Like, JabRef, …) and then I write the actual document in an outliner (too many options to list) or just a plain text or Word document. All of these can be easily shared and jointly edited by collaborators.

    Don’t get me wrong. Evernote is a great service that’s intuitively and easy. But it’s not that much easier than storing your research results by other, slightly more cumbersome methods which — once you start writing — are much easier to use.

  • Todd Terres

    I use it to track on-line purchases by saving the emails I get on each purchase to an Evernote notebook named “Order status”. It’s much easier to do this than to have to find those emails in Outlook, and when I’ve received the order I just delete the Evernote entries.

  • kat

    I use Evernote in just this way to help with my PhD research. I’ve been waiting for years for a notes tool to evolve to work in the way Evernote does, and I’m so glad I’ve found it! Works seamlessly with my iPhone and the web so I can access it anywhere, and it’s saved me a few times especially with presentations and my awful memory! Keep evolving!

  • bob lord

    great ideas to save steps & time! (a little wordy tho)

  • Tony

    For Academic work, referencing is the essential that’s not there (yet??) in Evernote. Before anyone thinks that’s an easy fix, look at Zotero, and the amount of work they have had to do on referencing . Putting the two together would be wonderful, annotating pdf’s even more so.

    The suggestions in this post are nearly how I ended u working, but I wish I had used Evernote rather than 6×4 cards…….

    • Shawna


      I have Evernote. I’m just starting my dissertation.
      I see from another post that Zotero is able to organize according to a hierarchy. But what can Zotero NOT do, that Evernote can?
      Why did you choose Evernote in the end over Zotero?

      Thank you.

  • Roland

    Love Evernote!! BUT…are you folks still working on a web clipper for Safari 5.1? Is it coming soon? The bookmarklet work-around is way clunking imo.

  • Kevin

    Question for Evernote…on my Android phone it takes me many clicks to save a web page..

    More>Share Page>Evernote Create Note> Save.

    Is there an quicker way to save a Web page on Evernote on an Android Phone? Thanks for any help. I love using Evernote but want to use even more.

  • CNPH

    These Evernote features aren’t just useful for students doing research – but anyone who may be writing a paper, preparing a presentation, etc. One question – is there a way to use the Web Clipper function when viewing websites on the iPad (or iPhone)? Also, I haven’t tried it yet, but is there a way to cut & paste into Powerpoint?

    • Joyce Glass

      Mem clip is an app in the app store for iPad exactly. I have used it often. It will send web pages to your notebooks.

    • foolio

      I use a program called AddThis, which allows me to ‘send’ to Evernote – in essence, clipping the web page…

  • Tom

    Evernote has become my most important productivity tool, I use it every day.

    I do a lot of research and writing and I clip and tag articles during the morning and then study and write in the afternoon.

    Evernote makes it easy to collect and organize my research and site sources in my finished products

    PS I have found great help at the Evernote membership forum

  • Ron Suber

    I would like to know how attorneys use Evernote in their practice. Obviously we have a substantial amount of research, billing and calendar functions, but I use Dropbox for coordinating my files and can’t seem to find the best use of Evernote for my practiuce.

  • Mark Upshaw

    I am rather new to Evernote, having used several other platforms previously. I love it. Simple and quick to use. Full of features and great for collaboration.

  • Casey Klein

    Tony is right, referencing is the most important thing for academic research. Zotero is good. Another one is Citelighter, which I think is easier to use.

    • John

      Can this be used in conjunction with evernote

  • Peter Gibson

    Thanks for pointing out the web clipper again…I had not really noticed it before, nice tool.

  • Darpana

    Can you have a reminder set on Evernote? I would like it to mind me of any actions that are due…let me know

  • Matias

    Has any one used evernote to do qualitative data analysis? I am specially interested in coding text in pdf documents. I am currently using NVivo, but if Evernote could help it would be much better
    Any suggestions?

  • Deborah Clayborne-Faison

    Please add a template feature. The functionalty of evernote would increase tremendously with a Cornell note template available.

    • Cole

      @Deborah Clayborne-Faison, have you found a way to get a Cornell note template on Evernote? I never thought it’d be this difficult.

      • Heather

        If this is what you’re referring to, open that in Word, then save as .html. “Clip” the .html into Evernote, and you have your blank note template. Use “Copy Note” to create a new note whenever you wish.

  • Tx truck accident

    I love evernote and it helps me organize- 9 really like it for to do lists sinc and the sharing of notes is so easy, Great buy! thanks for tips!

  • Elaine

    I use Evernote on an iPad. How do I find the web clipper?

    • Lawson

      I don’t think there is a web-clipper on the Ipad (Possibly IOS may not allow evernote to implement that feature).

      Here is my workaround: I take a screen shot of the ipad screen displaying the information I want to save (hold the home button and then press the on/off button at top of the Ipad). Then from camera roll I just e-mail it to my evernote account. Very easy because I have the evernote email saved in my address book.

      The same process works great for photos you take with your iphone or ipad

  • Bob Stanke

    It is a great research tool for business too! I use it to research competitors, for which I have separate folders set-up for and use the web clipper a ton for!

  • Marcus


    In this post you state that one could share notebooks with embedded documents, e.g. a Word document, which is automatically updated to Evernote when saved.

    How do I do this? Do I have to use the desktop version of Evernote and not the web version?

    Document sharing is the one thing I actually miss from Evernote and I have not figured out a way to do this, so if this actually is possible Evernote would be perfection.

    // Marcus

  • ERitz

    One of the best things (which is still being developed) is the ability to export highlights and notes from kindle books to evernote. So helpful! Now if only there were a way to link the ipad app Goodreader with Evernote….

  • Parker

    I’m just starting to use Evernote and I find it great, but I noticed that, alongside with some six or seven ways to share your notes on the web, there is no button or parameter or whatever that tells you when your notes are not being shared with anyone – so, how do I know that I’m the only one who can read what I write?

  • John

    just been pointed to this. We shall be looking closely at this for our company Skin Salveation. Keep up the good work,

  • essay writing services

    That kind of research tool is really great and helpful for all of the students who wanted to have the best result on their searching activities. It’s good that you were able to show this to us.

  • Alex Babenkov

    Evernote’s a really great app full of the nice features, I have been using it for the past few years and still have a good experience.