25+ Dissertation & Thesis Writing Apps

Everything You Need To Optimise Your Research Journey

Completing your dissertation or thesis requires a hearty investment of time, effort and hard work. There’s no shortcut on the road to research success, but as with anything, there are ways to optimise the process and work smarter.

Here, we’ll share with you a wide range of apps, software and services that will make your life a little easier throughout the research process. While these apps can save you a lot of time, remember that your dissertation or thesis needs to be your own work – no tool should be doing the writing on your behalf. Also, be sure to check your university’s policy regarding AI-based tools and support before using any apps, tools or software. 

Literature Review & Search Apps

The following apps and tools can help you discover, analyse, and synthesise scholarly materials, significantly streamlining the literature review process.

Scite AI – Find & evaluate sources

The Scite AI app uses ‘Smart Citations’ to show how academic papers are discussed—i.e.,  supported, contradicted, or mentioned. This can help you fast-track the literature review process and source highly relevant papers quickly. 

Petal – Chat with your literature

Petal is an AI-driven tool that revolutionises your interaction with documents by enabling direct, context-aware conversations. Upload an article and it will swiftly summarise its contents and allow you to ask questions about the specific study (or studies).


Consensus – ChatGPT for academia

The Consensus app uses a powerful AI engine to connect you to over 200 million scientific papers. It allows precise searches and efficiently summarises key research findings. PS – Get 40% off Consensus Premium by using the coupon code GRADCOACH40.


Litmaps – Visualise related papers

This app is great for quickly identifying relevant research. For any given keyword or resource, it will provide you with a visual citation network, showing how studies are interconnected. This reveals both direct and tangential connections to other research, highlighting gaps and key discussions within your field.

Connected Papers

Connected Papers – An alternative

Similar to Litmaps, Connected Papers visually maps academic research, simplifying how you explore related studies. Just input a paper, and it charts connections, helping identify key literature and gaps. It’s ideal for staying updated on emerging research.

Elicit – An “AI research assistant”

Another AI-powered tool, Elicit automates the discovery, screening, and data extraction from academic papers efficiently. This makes it useful for systematic reviews and meta-analyses, as it allows you to focus on deeper analysis across various fields​.

Data Collection & Preparation

These apps and tools can assist you in terms of collecting and organising both qualitative and quantitative data for your dissertation or thesis.

Survey Monkey

SurveyMonkey – Simple surveys

SurveyMonkey is a versatile tool for creating and distributing surveys. It simplifies collecting and analysing data, helping you craft surveys that generate reliable results. Well suited for the vast majority of postgraduate research projects.


Qualtrics – An alternative

Qualtrics is a comprehensive survey tool with advanced creation, distribution, and analysis capabilities. It supports complex survey designs and robust data analysis, making it ideal for gathering detailed insights and conducting high-quality research.


Otter – Easy draft transcription

Otter is an AI-powered transcription tool that converts spoken words into text. It captures and transcribes lectures, interviews, and meetings in real time. Naturally, it’s not 100% accurate (you’ll need to verify), but it can certainly save you some time.

Qualitative Data Analysis

These software packages can help you organise and analyse qualitative data for your dissertation, thesis or research project.

NVivo – All-in-one qual platform

NVivo is a powerful qualitative data analysis software that facilitates data organisation, coding, and analysis. It supports a wide range of data types and methodologies, enabling detailed analysis and helping you extract rich insights from your data.

MaxQDA – QDA simplified

MAXQDA is a robust qualitative data analysis software that helps you systematically organise, evaluate, and interpret complex datasets. A little easier to get started with than NVivo, it’s ideal for first-time dissertation and thesis writers.

ATLAS.ti – For large datasets

ATLAS.ti offers robust tools for organising, coding, and examining diverse materials such as text, graphics, and multimedia. It’s well-suited for researchers aiming to weave detailed, data-driven narratives as it streamlines complex analysis tasks efficiently.

Delve – An intuitive interface

Delve is an intuitive qualitative data analysis tool designed to streamline the qualitative analysis process. Ideal for dissertations, Delve simplifies the process from initial data organisation to in-depth analysis, helping you efficiently manage and interpret complex datasets for clearer insights.

Quantitative (Statistical) Data Analysis

These software packages can help you organise and analyse quantitative (statistical) data for your dissertation, thesis or research project.

Julius – Your “AI data analyst”

Julius is an AI-powered data analysis tool that simplifies the process of analysing and visualising data for academic research. It allows you to “chat” with your data, create graphs, build forecasting models, and generate comprehensive analyses.

IBM SPSS – The “old faithful”

The OG of statistical analysis software, SPSS is ideal for students handling quantitative data in their dissertations and theses. It simplifies complex statistical testing, data management, and graphical representation, helping you derive robust insights.

R Studio – For the data wizards

While admittedly a little intimidating at first, R is a versatile software for statistical computing. It’s well-suited for quantitative dissertations and theses, offering a wide range of packages and robust community support to streamline your work.

STATA – For the data scientists

Stata is yet another comprehensive statistical software widely used for data management, statistical analysis, and graphical representation. It can efficiently handle large datasets and perform advanced statistical analyses.

Writing Improvement & Plagiarism Tools

These apps and tools can help enhance your writing and proactively identify potential plagiarism issues.

Grammarly – Improve your writing

Grammarly is a writing assistant that can help enhance academic writing by checking for errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation in real time. It also features a plagiarism detection system, helping you to proactively avoid academic misconduct.

Jenni – An AI “writing assistant”

Jenni AI helps you draft, cite, and edit with ease, streamlining the writing process and tackling writer’s block. Well suited for ESL students and researchers, Jenni helps ensure that your work is both precise, clear and grammatically sound.


Quillbot – Paraphrasing simplified

Quillbot is yet another AI-powered writing tool that can help streamline the writing process. Specifically, it can assist with paraphrasing, correcting grammar, and improving clarity and flow. It also features a citation generator and plagiarism checker.

Quetext – Solid plagiarism checking

Quetext is a plagiarism detection tool that helps ensure the originality of your academic work. It cross-references your documents against extensive online databases to highlight potential plagiarism and generate detailed reports.

Project & Time Management

These apps can help you plan your research project and manage your time, so that you can work as efficiently as possible.

GanttPro – PM simplified

An intuitive project management tool, GanttPro simplifies planning and tracking for dissertations or theses. It offers detailed Gantt charts to visualise task timelines, dependencies, and progress, helping you ensure timely completion of each section.

Trello – Drag-and-drop PM

Trello is a versatile project management tool that helps you organise your dissertation or thesis process effectively. By creating boards for each chapter or section, you can track progress, set deadlines, and coordinate tasks efficiently.

Toggl – Make every minute count

A user-friendly time-tracking app that helps you manage your research project effectively. With Toggl, you can precisely track how much time you spend on specific tasks. This will help you avoid distractions and stay on track throughout your journey.

Reference Management

These apps and tools will help you keep your academic resources well organised and ensure that your citations and references are perfectly formatted, every time.

Mendeley – Your citations, sorted

Mendeley is your go-to reference management tool that simplifies academic writing by keeping your sources neatly organised. Perfect for dissertations and theses, it lets you easily store, search, and cite your resources directly in MS Word.

Zotero – Great for Google Docs

Zotero is a free-to-use reference manager that ensures your sources are well-organised and flawlessly cited. It helps you collect, organise, and cite your research sources seamlessly. A great alternative to Mendeley if you’re using Google Docs.

Endnote – A paid option

Yet another reference management option, Endnote is sometimes specifically required by universities. It efficiently organises and stores research materials, making citation and bibliography creation (largely) effortless.

Honourable Mentions

Now that we’ve covered the more “exciting” dissertation apps and tools, it’s worth quickly making one or two mundane but essential mentions before we wrap up.

You’ll need a reliable word processor.

In terms of word processors, Microsoft Word will likely be your go-to, but it’s not the only option. If you don’t have a license for Word, you can certainly consider using Google Docs, which is completely free. Zotero offers a direct integration with Google Docs, making it easy to manage your citations and references. If you want to go to the other extreme, you can consider LaTeX, a professional typesetting software often used in academic documents.

You’ll need cloud storage.

The number of times we’ve seen students lose hours, days or even weeks’ worth of hard work (and even miss the submission deadline) due to corrupted flash drives or hard drives, coffee-soaked laptops, or stolen computers is truly saddening. If you’re not using cloud storage to save your work, you’re running a major risk. Go sign up for any of the following cloud services (most offer a free version) and save your work there:

  1. Dropbox
  2. Google Drive
  3. OneDrive
  4. iCloud Drive

Not only will this ensure your work is always safely stored (remember to hit the Save button, though!), but it will make working on multiple devices easier, as your files will be automatically synchronised. No need to have multiple versions between your desktop, laptop, tablet, etc. Everything stays in one place. Safe, secure, happy files.

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Key Takeaways: Dissertation & Thesis Apps

And there you have it – a hearty selection of apps, software and services that will undoubtedly make your life easier come dissertation time.

To recap, we’ve covered tools across a range of categories:

  1. Literature review
  2. Data collection
  3. Qualitative data analysis
  4. Quantitative data analysis
  5. Writing & Plagiarism
  6. Project management
  7. Reference management
  8. Honourable mentions

Remember, while these apps can help optimise your dissertation or thesis writing journey, you still need to put in the work. Be sure to carefully review your university’s rules and regulations regarding what apps and tools you can use – especially anything AI-related.

Have a suggestion? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Simply leave a comment below and we’ll consider adding your suggested app to the list.

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