||Conducting research is a difficult task. Learners, typically with little domain competence, are faced with many challenges when commencing a research project, from choosing a topic, to constructing effective search queries implemented across multiple academic repositories. The 21st-century learner is also expected to use technology as a tool; to research, systematise, evaluate, and communicate information effectively and seamlessly, in addition to knowledge creation. This multiplicity of demands creates a complicated tapestry of challenges for both supervisors of projects and students alike. Tools like TurnItIn, which is a plagiarism detection service, attempt to dissuade students from merely being passive researchers and move them to becoming active researchers. However, these tools work only at a surface level and a supervisor is completely unaware of the processes used to garner research articles, be this in a structured research approach or merely obtaining a bibliography list for a classmate.
This paper presents an innovative research platform, NETSEARCH, which is designed to address the challenges of conducting and managing research projects in a single platform. The learners' effective engagement with research papers is visualised through a digital ecosystem to identify learners who are struggling or disengaged with the process of conducting research, enabling early intervention, and to eliminate the possibility of plagiarism through the digitisation of the research process.