©2019 by Connor Rothschild

Automating the Research Process using Google Sheets

March 23, 2019



One of the most frustrating parts of my research process has been citations. I've never been satisfied with attempts to offload all citation formatting to the end of the project, and making citations as I come across journal articles has far too often impeded my workflow. Moreover, attempts to use Zotero, EasyBib, or RefWorks have led to issues; often times the article I have read will be republished with different page numbers, and these softwares cite the wrong version. Therefore, I wanted a tool which could automate the citation process using my own inputted data. (I also did not want to face the prohibitive paywalls of EasyBib et al.).


I therefore tried to solve this problem by partially automating my research process using Google Sheets.


The sheet serves two purposes.

1) It is a centralized source that includes all journal articles I've read through for a paer. Google Sheets (or Microsoft Excel) is a powerful organizational tool in this regard.

2) It provides an easy way to export all sources into a perfectly-formatted bibliography.


Making the sheet was relatively easy, with the exception of Sheets' inability to italicize strings inside of concatenated cells. The workaround involves putting characters (~i) around italicized strings (e.g. journal titles) and using wildcard find and replace in Microsoft Word.


So far, the sheet only supports journal articles in APA, ASA, and Chicago. More coming soon!


You can find the sheet here. Feel free to make a copy of the sheet and use it for your own purposes!


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