Research can be tough but we can help you succeed. From mind maps to referencing, open access to using social media for research there are some great tools and tips to support your research needs.

Hootsuite: use for research

Hootsuite is a free and easy to use browser based social media management tool. We like it so much that we even filmed a video about it with Hootsuite themselves to show off how we use it across the University of Cambridge.

Once installed, Hootsuite gives you a dashboard where you can see all of your social media accounts in one place.

Hootsuite is a great management tool to keep everything organised when you’re trying to do some intelligence gathering and research from a range of social media platforms.

Check out our guide for more information on setting up your dashboard, collating your research topic and grouping themes and people together.

Download our Hootsuite for research guide

If you have any follow-up questions or would like to book in some time to set up your own Hootsuite dashboard, just get in touch with the Information & Library Services team and we can help to get you started.

Mind maps: navigate your way

Before diving straight into your research, writing a presentation or starting revision, it may be useful for you to prepare using a mind map. You might have seen one already but they are a visual way to organise information. 

You can use them for:

  • Research to break down topics into manageable chunks, especially for revision
  • Brainstorming ideas and problem solving to help work out an action plan
  • Planning presentations and teaching sessions to have a good overall visual structure

You can use the traditional pen-and-paper method, incorporating colour and drawings to unlock your creative side, or use online software allowing you to mind map electronically. Whatever your approach, you can have fun mapping your mind and boosting your productivity as a result.

Open Access: what does it all mean?

Open Access (OA) aims to offer free and open access to information to anyone who wants it.

Open Access allows for research outputs of universities and other bodies to be made accessible to all interested parties such as:


  • Members of the public who wish to access publicly funded research and information.
  • Researchers in other institutions who may be limited by restricted subscriptions.
  • Other practitioners who can then use research to innovate and develop new ideas.


Open Access is a requirement of many funding bodies and also has a big impact on the REF. It can also help researchers get higher impact and citation figures with their work in comparison to work published in non-Open Access publications.

However, the Open Access landscape is quite complicated and rapidly changing so check out the University of Cambridge’s Open Access website for all the latest information. Details on how to deposit your work in the University’s data repository can be found on the University’s website.

Research Data Management: getting to grips with your outputs

Research data management is an important part of the research process. A good data management plan will ensure you meet the requirements of the University and any research funders associated with your project as well as making your research process as efficient as possible.

Research data can take many different forms from Excel spreadsheets to handwritten notebooks. So how do you manage all of your data and make sure that you do not lose anything important when doing your research? We’ve got some top tips to help you keep your research data under control.

Download our research data management top tips

You can also find more information on the University’s Research Data Management webpages.

Twitter: for research – getting information from social media

Twitter is a great social media tool for keeping up-to-date with the latest news, commentary, and business information. But did you know that you can also use it for research? 

Great examples include:

  • Tracking how popular a product is with consumers.
  • Following industry and market hashtags to get the latest news.
  • Carrying out due diligence research on people and companies in business..
  • Measuring how successful companies are at handling bad/good PR

We can show you the basics of using Twitter for these things as well as using extra management tools such as Hootsuite to bring it all together so do get in touch or look at our guide for more information.

Download the using Twitter for research guide