GuidesResearch methodsTop 21 must-have digital tools for researchers

Top 21 must-have digital tools for researchers

Last updated

12 May 2023


Dovetail Editorial Team

Reviewed by

Jean Kaluza

Research plays a critical role in gathering evidence, contributing to knowledge, and furthering cases for investment. 

Research drives many decisions across various industries, including:

  • Uncovering customer motivations and behaviors to design better products

  • Assessing whether a market exists for your product or service

  • Running clinical studies to develop a medical breakthrough

Conducting effective and shareable research can be a painstaking process. Manual processes are sluggish and archaic, and they can also be inaccurate. That’s where advanced online tools can help. 

The right tools can enable businesses to lean into research for better forecasting, planning, and more reliable decisions. 

Why do researchers need research tools?

Research is challenging and time-consuming. Analyzing data, running focus groups, reading research papers, and looking for useful insights take plenty of heavy lifting. 

These days, researchers can’t just rely on manual processes. Instead, they’re using advanced tools that:

  • Speed up the research process

  • Enable new ways of reaching customers

  • Improve organization and accuracy

  • Allow better monitoring throughout the process

  • Enhance collaboration across key stakeholders

The most important digital tools for researchers

Some tools can help at every stage, making researching simpler and faster.

They ensure accurate and efficient information collection, management, referencing, and analysis. 

Some of the most important digital tools for researchers include:

Research management tools

Research management can be a complex and challenging process. Some tools address the various challenges that arise when referencing and managing papers. 


Coined as a personal research assistant, Zotero is a tool that brings efficiency to the research process. Zotero helps researchers collect, organize, annotate, and share research easily. 

Zotero integrates with internet browsers, so researchers can easily save an article, publication, or research study on the platform for later. 

The tool also has an advanced organizing system to allow users to label, tag, and categorize information for faster insights and a seamless analysis process. 


Messy paper stacks––digital or physical––are a thing of the past with Paperpile. This reference management tool integrates with Google Docs, saving users time with citations and paper management. 

Referencing, researching, and gaining insights is much cleaner and more productive, as all papers are in the same place. Plus, it’s easier to find a paper when you need it. 


Acting as a single source of truth (SSOT), Dovetail houses research from the entire organization in a simple-to-use place. Researchers can use the all-in-one platform to collate and store data from interviews, forms, surveys, focus groups, and more. 

Dovetail helps users quickly categorize and analyze data to uncover truly actionable insights. This helps organizations bring customer insights into every decision for better forecasting, planning, and decision-making. 

Dovetail integrates with other helpful tools like ​Slack, Atlassian, Notion, and Zapier for a truly efficient workflow.


Putting together papers and referencing sources can be a huge time consumer. EndNote claims that researchers waste 200,000 hours per year formatting citations. 

To address the issue, the tool formats citations automatically––simultaneously creating a bibliography while the user writes. 

EndNote is also a cloud-based system that allows remote working, multiple-user interaction and collaboration, and seamless working on different devices. 

Information survey tools

Surveys are a common way to gain data from customers. These tools can make the process simpler and more cost-effective. 


With ready-made survey templates––to collect NPS data, customer effort scores, five-star surveys, and more––getting going with Delighted is straightforward. 

Delighted helps teams collect and analyze survey feedback without needing any technical knowledge. The templates are customizable, so you can align the content with your brand. That way, the survey feels like it’s coming from your company, not a third party. 


With millions of customers worldwide, SurveyMonkey is another leader in online surveys. SurveyMonkey offers hundreds of templates that researchers can use to set up and deploy surveys quickly. 

Whether your survey is about team performance, hotel feedback, post-event feedback, or an employee exit, SurveyMonkey has a ready-to-use template. 


Typeform offers free templates you can quickly embed, which comes with a point of difference: It designs forms and surveys with people in mind, focusing on customer enjoyment. 

Typeform employs the ‘one question at a time’ method to keep engagement rates and completions high. It focuses on surveys that feel more like conversations than a list of questions.

Web data analysis tools

Collecting data can take time––especially technical information. Some tools make that process simpler. 


For those conducting clinical research, data collection can be incredibly time-consuming. Teamscope provides an online platform to collect and manage data simply and easily. 

Researchers and medical professionals often collect clinical data through paper forms or digital means. Those are too easy to lose, tricky to manage, and challenging to collaborate on. 

With Teamscope, you can easily collect, store, and electronically analyze data like patient-reported outcomes and surveys. 


Heap is a digital insights platform providing context on the entire customer journey. This helps businesses improve customer feedback, conversion rates, and loyalty. 

Through Heap, you can seamlessly view and analyze the customer journey across all platforms and touchpoints, whether through the app or website. 


Another analytics tool, Smartlook, combines quantitative and qualitative analytics into one platform. This helps organizations understand user behavior and make crucial improvements. 

Smartlook is useful for analyzing web pages, purchasing flows, and optimizing conversion rates. 

Project management tools

Managing multiple research projects across many teams can be complex and challenging. Project management tools can ease the burden on researchers. 


Visual productivity tool Trello helps research teams manage their projects more efficiently. Trello makes product tracking easier with:

  • A range of workflow options

  • Unique project board layouts

  • Tagging

  • Advanced descriptions

  • Integrations

Trello also works as an SSOT to stay on top of projects and collaborate effectively as a team. 


To connect research, workflows, and teams, Airtable provides a clean interactive interface. 

With Airtable, it’s simple to place research projects in a list view, workstream, or road map to synthesize information and quickly collaborate. The Sync feature makes it easy to link all your research data to one place for faster action. 


For product teams, Asana gathers development, copywriting, design, research teams, and product managers in one space. 

As a task management platform, Asana offers all the expected features and more, including time-tracking and Jira integration. The platform offers reporting alongside data collection methods, so it’s a favorite for product teams in the tech space.

Grammar checker tools

Grammar tools ensure your research projects are professional and proofed. 


No one’s perfect, especially when it comes to spelling, punctuation, and grammar. That’s where Grammarly can help. 

Grammarly’s AI-powered platform reviews your content and corrects any mistakes. Through helpful integrations with other platforms––such as Gmail, Google Docs, Twitter, and LinkedIn––it’s simple to spellcheck as you go. 


Another helpful grammar tool is Trinka AI. Trinka is specifically for technical and academic styles of writing. It doesn’t just correct mistakes in spelling, punctuation, and grammar; it also offers explanations and additional information when errors show. 

Researchers can also use Trinka to enhance their writing and:

  • Align it with technical and academic styles

  • Improve areas like syntax and word choice

  • Discover relevant suggestions based on the content topic

Plagiarism checker tools

Avoiding plagiarism is crucial for the integrity of research. Using checker tools can ensure your work is original. 


Plagiarism checker Quetext uses DeepSearch™ technology to quickly sort through online content to search for signs of plagiarism. 

With color coding, annotations, and an overall score, it’s easy to identify conflict areas and fix them accordingly. 


Another helpful plagiarism tool is Duplichecker, which scans pieces of content for issues. The service is free for content up to 1000 words, with paid options available after that. 

If plagiarism occurs, a percentage identifies how much is duplicate content. However, the interface is relatively basic, offering little additional information.  

Journal finder tools

Finding the right journals for your project can be challenging––especially with the plethora of inaccurate or predatory content online. Journal finder tools can solve this issue. 

Enago Journal Finder

The Enago Open Access Journal Finder sorts through online journals to verify their legitimacy. Through Engao, you can discover pre-vetted, high-quality journals through a validated journal index. 

Enago’s search tool also helps users find relevant journals for their subject matter, speeding up the research process. 


JournalFinder is another journal tool that’s popular with academics and researchers. It makes the process of discovering relevant journals fast by leaning into a machine-learning algorithm.

This is useful for discovering key information and finding the right journals to publish and share your work in. 

Social networking for researchers

Collaboration between researchers can improve the accuracy and sharing of information. Promoting research findings can also be essential for public health, safety, and more. 

While typical social networks exist, some are specifically designed for academics.


Networking platform ResearchGate encourages researchers to connect, collaborate, and share within the scientific community. With 20 million researchers on the platform, it's a popular choice. 

ResearchGate is founded on an intention to advance research. The platform provides topic pages for easy connection within a field of expertise and access to millions of publications to help users stay up to date. 


Academia is another commonly used platform that connects 220 million academics and researchers within their specialties. 

The platform aims to accelerate research with discovery tools and grow a researcher’s audience to promote their ideas. 

On Academia, users can access 47 million PDFs for free. They cover topics from mechanical engineering to applied economics and child psychology. 

Expedited research with the power of tools

For researchers, finding data and information can be time-consuming and complex to manage. That’s where the power of tools comes in. 

Manual processes are slow, outdated, and have a larger potential for inaccuracies. 

Leaning into tools can help researchers speed up their processes, conduct efficient research, boost their accuracy, and share their work effectively. 

With tools available for project and data management, web data collection, and journal finding, researchers have plenty of assistance at their disposal.

When it comes to connecting with customers, advanced tools boost customer connection while continually bringing their needs and wants into products and services.


What are primary research tools?

Primary research is data and information that you collect firsthand through surveys, customer interviews, or focus groups. 

Secondary research is data and information from other sources, such as journals, research bodies, or online content. 

Primary researcher tools use methods like surveys and customer interviews. You can use these tools to collect, store, or manage information effectively and uncover more accurate insights. 

What is the difference between tools and methods in research?

Research methods relate to how researchers gather information and data. 

For example, surveys, focus groups, customer interviews, and A/B testing are research methods that gather information. 

On the other hand, tools assist areas of research. Researchers may use tools to more efficiently gather data, store data securely, or uncover insights. 

Tools can improve research methods, ensuring efficiency and accuracy while reducing complexity.

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