Roam Research: A New Metacognition Tool in the Workplace


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Learn more about metacognition in the workplace with Roam Research.

As the world goes digital, so do your notes. With endless loops of thoughts one could have, it would be a dream to find the same concept but in a note-taking form – which is something that Roam Research takes pride in.

What is Roam Research?

Just as its name suggests, Roam Research is a note-taking application that encourages “networked thoughts.” Instead of having to mentally and physically group your notes into specific diagrams and hierarchies, this application allows for free-flowing connections and groupings of different notes, allowing you to take your notes more organically.

How does Roam Research work?

Why is it a great new tool for metacognition in the workplace?

The key mechanism of Roam Research is that while all notes have some form of connection or relationship with another, no note exists “inside” another note.

With Roam, I can organize my thoughts and notes just as how I imagined them in my brain.

Although the “equality” and the absence of hierarchy note-to-note might be unconventional to some, those seeking an organization that follows a folder or notebook system may use its hierarchical feature inside each note. However, note that just like the notes, each page that belongs to a hierarchy is likewise a thing on its own.

This hierarchical feature is powered by a bi-directional links engine that automatically creates a “link” between two or more notes with the same topic. You can either use #topic or [[topic]] to establish a new or existing topic. For newly added topics without a page just yet, Roam Research also automatically creates this new page, which is also already linked to the note or page you’re currently on. As you can see, automatic gestures seem to be a common thing in Roam Research.

If you’re worried that you might accidentally miss linking a note or a page, worry not. In every note, Roam Research provides you with a list of all linked and unlinked pages or notes to the current one you’re working on. The application identifies unlinked pages or notes as those that mention similar terms as your current note, but haven’t been linked yet. With a single click, you can link and unlink them to your current note, making it a great metacognition tool in the workplace!

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For those who prefer not to link entire notes and pages and instead link very specific reference content, Roam Research has got your back. By simply typing ((reference to block)), it allows you to reference blocks, saving you time from browsing entire notes and pages to find your linked information.

What are the special features of Roam Research?

Compared to other note-taking applications for metacognition in the workplace, Roam Research is a relatively new product that helps you to create customized “wikis” where you can freely add other elements such as to-do lists, embeds, and blocks, among others. Did you know that Roam Research can also work offline? This is a huge plus, especially to those with restricted to no internet connection 24/7.

Roam Research boasts of four main features that make the application stand out from the rest of its competitors. These main features are listed below:

  • Creating notes – There are two ways to create your note, either hover to the left sidebar and pressing the + symbol next to All Pages or simply type the page’s title at the search bar at the top of the page. To add more elements to your note, you can press the / command to see all options.
  • Daily notes – If you’re someone who likes to plan their day digitally, then this feature will save you from cross-checking your daily plans to another application. Roam Research prepares a new page for you every day, which you can use as a place to dump random notes and schedule your day. You can also click the daily notes link in the left sidebar to review your daily logs organized by date.
  • Graph overview – The graph overview feature serves as the directory of your entire note and page setups. It visualizes the relationship between each note and page. You can also zoom in and out of will if your graph ended up looking too complex over time.
  • Sidebar – Roam Research takes inspiration from the people’s love of multi-tasking and includes a sidebar feature where you can work on your main note and open another note all at the same time. You can do this by simply pressing SHIFT and clicking on the actual tag or title. This is especially helpful when cross-checking information, which is one of the key features of this application.

While other note-taking applications take pride in their open, canvas-like approach, people who find these overwhelming can turn to Roam Research and enjoy its hierarchical and interconnecting note and page system. Aside from keeping your notes into a seemingly “endless” yet organized stream of thoughts, this system is also a great way to study your notes organically.

What are some things you need to look out for?

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Since Roam Research is a fairly new application with lots of room for improvement, there are two things you need to watch out for. First, Roam Research currently does not have a mobile version, which means that you can only access it through the web browser. Second, it does not have an API (Application Programming Interface) which prevents it from integrating itself with other applications.

What do the people say?

As a student, I used to dread physically writing notes – not until I discovered that I can take them digitally. With Roam, I can organize my thoughts and notes just as how I imagined them in my brain. Despite its hierarchical and free-flowing approach to note-taking, its simple interface and innovative features allow me to have cohesive and organically flowing notes every time. It’s also amazing to see how intricate my pages and notes look at the end of the day with all the links and added elements to them, which motivate me even more to make them refined and complex in the future.

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The Key Takeaway

In a digital age when disconnecting from the real world seems to be a thing, engaging products that remind one of their sense of self such as Roam Research can help bring ourselves back to reality – one page at a time.

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