Affordances for Research

Here is a list of affordances we identified and developed into OneNote to adapt it to integrate every activity of the qualitative research process.

To check some examples have a look at our posts.

You can also read our paper ‘Using OneNote as a meta-tool across the qualitative research process’ for ECER 2105 (European Conference on Educational Research)  for more details.


Qualitative research activities OneNote affordances


Collaborating Access to pages can be conditional or full

Web app, tablet and smartphone apps as well as a software for Mac OS and Windows

Works online and offline, with live syncing or asynchronous updates

Collaborators can have viewing or editing privileges

Marks recent editing and authors

Through customisation, allows discussion around any piece of text, attribution of tasks, and retrieval and reporting on activities


Reviewing the literature Through custom templates, facilitates file management, indexing, annotation, linking, tagging, searching with retrieval of citations in context

Insertion of PDF files and their printouts. All PDF content of the library can be searched


Generating data Captures text, webpages, audio, images, screenshots and video directly to its pages

Handwriting and drawing abilities

Multi-platform – PC, Mac, Android, iOS and  Windows Phone

Insertion of documents, Excel, PDF, audio and video files

Advanced web clipping abilities

OCR capabilities – extract text from scans and pictures

Transcribes voice to text (in Windows smartphones) and vice-versa


Storing, protecting and managing data Uses cloud storage with synced computer storage for file management and sharing

Password-protect any section

Organisation with many levels of depth – notebook, sections group, sections, pages, subpages, sub-subpages

Pages can be based on paper sizes or open infinite canvas, allowing linear and non-linear organisation of text, graphing and drawing


Searching Word search tools with reporting ability

Searching for words in images, audio and video files

Searching across notebooks, sections, pages, subpages, sub-subpages


Transcribing Converts handwritting into text

Audio and video files recorded inside a page sync the notes taken during the recording with the specific time of the audio/video. When the note is “played”, the audio or video  is “played” and vice-versa


Memoing Handwritten, text, audio and video memoing associated with the content at the paragraph level or at the audio and video timetag


Editing and writing Advanced text editing and basic styles

Outliner abilities

Works simultaneously in multiple windows

Clean full screen editing for decluttered writing

Design of custom templates to organize writing

Automatically saves pages versions that can be recovered at any moment

Proofing tools and thesaurus

Translation tools

Advanced handling of tables


Coding Paragraph based tagging system

Allows for custom coding

Search and retrieval abilities with basic operators

Generates code search reports


Data linking Allows hyperlinking of any pieces of text or file within and between any pages of OneNote and to external pages and files


Data displaying Graphical design characteristics for drawing and making graphics

Organisation and manipulation of any content

Live embedding of Excel and Visio pages


Graphic mapping Graphical design characteristics allowing for graphical mapping


Research project managing Through custom templates, facilitates planning pages and calendars

Direct Outlook integration with the possibility of setting calendar appointments and reminders


Check out our Research Training and Digital Research Notebooks Design