10 best Apple and Android Apps for research

These research apps provide everything from citation to scholarly searches


[Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on the site in June, and was one of our most popular stories. Worth a re-read? We think so! Also, happy Thanksgiving week!]

One of the biggest perks to including mobile devices in the classroom is also one of the most basic—conducting research with the touch of a finger. And outside of downloading Google’s search app, many apps cater intuitively to finding articles and annotation sources, which is helpful for any student, educator or librarian.

From showing examples of how to cite multimedia sources to being able to annotate any kind of document on a mobile device, and from creating customized online searches of scholarly publications to being able to log into your computer files from your phone, these apps are a plus for anyone interested in conducting meaningful research.

Know of any research apps for students in higher education, or apps that librarians have recommended? Have you tried any of these apps? Leave your comments in the section provided below, email me at, or find me @eSN_Meris on Twitter.

(Next page: Research apps 1-5)

1. ArticleSearch (Apple); Free

The ArticleSearch© App by ForeMinds™ enables you to perform simultaneous searches across multiple sources. Browse scientific papers, journals, articles, magazines and more academic publications. It works by filling in just one field (or small form, in the case of advanced searches) to intuitively obtain sources. These are gathered and shown as individual test tubes on screen. Tap any tube and you access its specific content, as if you did the search in the sources’ own website. From that point, using the built-in web-browser, check short abstracts or access the full article. Save it as a Favorite or send your findings to friends and colleagues, at the tap of a button. The app comes with two standard search engines and a list of premium ones to choose from.

2. EasyBib (Apple) Free; EasyBib (Android)  Free

Create accurate MLA, APA, and Chicago style citations in seconds by scanning a book bar code or by typing the name of a book. Build and manage your works cited. Once done, email your citations and then export your citations to’s bibliography management service.

3. Flipboard (Apple) Free; Flipboard (Android); Free

This app is your personal magazine. Catch up on the news, read stories from around the world and browse the articles, videos and photos friends are sharing. To begin, pick a few interests and tap any of the tiles to begin flipping through your personal magazine. Add blogs and publications like The New York Times, Fast Company and many more.You can also connect your social networks like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr to see what friends are posting and easily share articles with them.

4. GoodReader 4 (Apple); $6.99

GoodReader® is a PDF reader app that Mashable describes as “a Swiss Army knife of awesome!” With GoodReader, you can read virtually anything, anywhere: books, movies, maps, pictures. The app has earned accolades by the way it handles huge PDF and TXT files, manuals, large books, magazines, and renderings of 100 mb and more with speed. The ability to mark-up PDFs allows users to use typewriter text boxes, sticky notes, lines, arrows, and freehand drawings on top of a PDF file. Users can all have access to various types of servers to store data—Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive,, WebDAV, SMB, AFP, FTP, SFTP.

5. Instapaper (Apple) $3.99; Instapaper (Android) 2.99

Instapaper saves and stores articles for reading: offline, on-the-go, anytime, anywhere. The app saves most web pages as text only, stripping away the full-sized layout to optimize for the mobile screen; stores up to 500 articles, and stores unlimited articles on the Instapaper website; and allows users to read offline. Subscription options available.

(Next page: Research apps 6-10)

6. LogMeIn (Apple) Free; LogMeIn (Android) Free

Get secure anytime, anywhere access to your computers from your iPad, iPhone or Android. Remotely access your PCs and Macs over WiFi/3G. Works with an account subscription of LogMeIn Pro on your computer, which also includes access from your desktop and web browser, so everything you need is always at your fingertips. Users can also get to computer files and edit then from their device, as well as remotely run any application on your computer from their device.

7. Notability (Apple); $4.99

A powerful note-taker app, Notability allows users to sketch ideas, annotate documents, sign contracts, complete worksheets, keep a journal, record a lecture, jot travel notes, or teach a class. Write, illustrate and annotate using ink, and import forms, contracts, worksheets, documents, presentations, and even books; then use the same tools that help you take notes in Notability to mark up PDFs. Type an essay, create an outline, fill out an application, or make a list with Notability’s advanced word processor. Everything you type, write or add to your note is also linked to the audio recording. Organize your notes by subject in the library and automatically backup all of your work to Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, or webDAV. Also, use these services, plus email, Airdrop, and twitter, to share your Notability files with colleagues, classmates, students or teachers.

8. Papers 3 (Apple); $9.99

This app allows users to find, read, organize, and sync research papers. Search simultaneously from 20+ repositories, including PubMed and ArXiv. When you import papers into your library, Papers lets you organize them in collections and read, annotate and freehand draw them in full screen. It even automatically finds and downloads the PDF for references you import from search engines, when the full-text is available. Papers now also optionally lets you store and synchronize your library on Dropbox, Word, and PowerPoint to use the same library on all your Mac, PC or iOS devices.

9. Questia Library (Apple); Free (with an account. If you don’t have an account, choose from available options through the app).

With access to over 80,000 books, 10,000,000 articles, and 7,000 research topics, this app is designed to help you to write better research papers faster. Quickly find credible books, scholarly articles and topics for your research papers; read full-text books and articles within the app; and save what you are reading for future access in a project folder. Questia subscribers will enjoy these additional benefits:
• Cloud synchronized project folders
• Full text access to the complete Questia library via both the app and website
• Full access to research tools such as citations and highlighting on the Questia site

10. References MLA (Android); Free

Use this app as a reference tool to find examples of MLA Style citations often required in research papers and other school-related projects. It also includes a new section describing how to do in-text citations. Included are books and eBooks, journal articles, magazine articles, websites, resources from library research databases, YouTube videos, and blog posts. Examples are based on the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers 7th edition.

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