Document Type


Publication Date


Department 1

Computer Science


There are many digital tools that can be used for research and presentation in nearly every college discipline, including the social sciences and humanities. These tools hold the promise to radically change both the process and products of research. But in their application these tools have failed miserably to live up to their promise.

This paper is based on the hypothesis that one reason these tools do reach their potential is that there is no systemic way to include them in research process, resulting in the tools being seen as ways to improve the final research product. This results in the tools becoming just an added on kludge, and leading researchers to the conclude that they are hard to use, full of bugs and other problems, and that they do not bring a lot of value to the research.

This paper is an attempt to address this problem of including digital tools in a research process. It is part of a series of papers proposing a systematic methodology for including digital tools in a research process. This paper is the first, and outlines a methodology for the research process that allows the application of digital tools to a small area, undergraduate student research papers. It will outline a development process that will systematize the steps in the research process. These steps will then be used to classify the digital tools, and show how they can be applied to the research process.

The final product of this paper will be a process methodology for creating student research papers to be used in a class to be run as a freshman seminar. The students will be taught this research methodology, and be led through the development of a research paper using the steps defined in this methodology. The steps in the process being enhanced using appropriate digital tools applicable to each step in the methodology.

The ability of the students to do research using the research methodology and digital tools will be measured by the degree of success the students have in completing a humanities/social science research product as part of the class. The students will be followed in a longitudinal study by asking them to complete a short survey at the end of each year of their undergraduate education.