It’s a new year and you are probably looking at trying to be more effective with your research. Perhaps you are just starting with your research, or perhaps you are wanting to optimise the way you work. Either way, we have the perfect tool for you!

Our full list of tools can be found on the Postgraduate and Researcher guide, but we have selected just a few here for you.

1. Plan & Design


Freedom app

Freedom is an app and website blocker designed to improve focus and productivity. Use it to block apps on your phone, tablet or PC.



Organise your thoughts, tasks and projects with Outliner. Create to do lists and track entire projects from anywhere.



The IHMC Cmap Tools software empowers users to construct, navigate, share and criticise knowledge models represented as concept maps.



Fast, one link access to millions of research papers. Using the subscriptions of your university or institution, Kopernio provides access to full text pdf’s of articles directly from Google Scholar and other databases. Install the chrome plugin and tap into the convenience of Kopernio.



A news aggregator application and RSS feed reader for various devices and web browsers. Stay up to date with the latest information in your field and keep track of your favourite publications all in one place.

Write up:


Grammarly is a free writing assistant that makes sure everything that you write is clear, effective and mistake free.


​Noisli is a background noise and color generator for working and relaxing. Online soothing ambient sounds like White noise, Rain and Coffee Shop.



A free Reference Management and Academic Social Networking Tool that assists with managing your references, showcasing your work and connecting with other researchers worldwide.

2. Collect & Capture

Note taking:


Evernote is a cross-platform app designed for note taking, organizing,and archiving. Organise your work and take notes where ever you are.


Microsoft OneNote is a computer program for free-form information gathering and multi-user collaboration. It gathers users’ notes, drawings, screen clippings and audio commentaries. Part of the Office 365 student package.



The web-based e-Survey service (SUrveys) is available to support academic staff and postgraduate students using online surveys for their academic research.

3. Analyze, Collaborate & Create

Data Clean-up:


A free, open source, power tool for working with messy data.

Data Analysis:


R is a free software environment for statistical computing and graphics. It compiles and runs on a wide variety of UNIX platforms, Windows and MAC. Can be used with R-studio.


Tableau Public

Tableau Public is free software that can allow anyone to connect to a spreadsheet or file and create interactive data visualizations for the web.

Software use:

Virtual Box

Oracle VM VirtualBox is a free and open-source hypervisor (virtual machine monitor) for x86 computers. If you need a specific environment for software use, Virtual Box can create it for you on your computer.


Slack app

A collaboration tool that bring teams together in a single workspace. Slack is where work flows. It’s where the people you need, the information you share, and the tools you use come together to get things done.

4. Manage, Store & Preserve


Stellenbosch University Library & Information Service

For more information on Managing your Research Data, please see the Library’s Research Data Management page.


Google Drive

Get access to files anywhere through secure cloud storage and file backup for your photos, videos, files and more. Comes with 15GB of free space with your Google account.


​A file hosting service from Miscrosoft. Students at SUN receive a 5TB OneDrive  for use during their studies. See SUN’s IT page for more details.



Theses are deposited on SUNScholar once you complete your degree. SUNScholar can also be used to archive articles, conference papers and other records for long term preservation.


SHERPA RoMEO is an online resource that aggregates and analyses publisher open access policies from around the world and provides summaries of self-archiving permissions and conditions of rights given to authors on a journal-by-journal basis.

5. Share & Publish



Web based presentation software. Prezi uses motion, zoom and spatial relationships to bring your ideas to life

Posters, Graphics & Infographics:


Canva makes design simple for everyone. Create designs for web or print, blog graphics, presentations, coves, flyers, posters and much more.



ResearchGate is a social networking site for scientists and researchers to share papers, ask and answer questions, and find collaborators.


A content sharing community for sharing of presentations and infographics.


Think Check Submit

Think. Check. Submit. is a campaign to help researchers identify trusted journals for their research. It is a simple checklist that researchers can use to assess the credentials of a journal or publisher.

Where to Publish Library Guide

For more information about where to publish, have a look at the Library’s Where to Publish Guide.

6. Monitor & Evaluate


For more information on Research Evaluation and measurement, please see the Stellenbosch Library and Information Services’ Bibliometrics and Citation Analysis Library Guide.