You may find some of these tools useful, either singly or in combination, in the research process, at the level of collecting and curating information, in the analysis of texts, in the citation of texts, in the creation of bibliographies, and also in the reflective writing process. They are all free, although some have a further subscription level which allows for greater functionality and more design features.
Mendeley is a free reference management software with a valuable PDF reader. It has both a desktop and a web interface, which are synchronised. More importantly, it is an excellent PDF file manager, creating a full-text electronic library which can be searched, highlighted and annotated and which can be organised by tags, folders and groups. It also serves as a crowd-sourced database of academic articles and book references, and enables you to share references and reading lists, if you should so wish.
Diigo is a web-browser tool that enables you to collect, highlight and annotate web pages. It could also be used in picture and visual research to gather and annotate images. Similarly to Mendeley, it allows you to build a working digital library, but with html pages rather than PDF files. The pages in this collection can be saved as PDFs and transferred to Mendeley for reference management and other more analytic purposes.
Scoop It! is a rapid magazine creation tool, a rapid blogging tool and a curation or collection platform. Like Diigo, it works through a web-browser plug-in and enables you to collect and share web pages that you consider of interest. It can be tied in to other social media, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, in order further to share or disseminate information.
WordPress was initially a blogging platform. It now provides a content management together with a blogging platform, useful for keeping a reflective narrative and associated resources and links. It can also be used to present an online portfolio, by selecting the appropriate template.
Blogger is a straightforward blogging tool through which narrative and analytical discourses can be woven over a long period of time, using the search and tagging functions to assemble different narrative and analytical threads.
Twitter can be used to identify particular people, for example designers or design academics, who can be followed in order to provide a regular stream of links to useful research material and events such as conferences and exhibitions.
Text Fixer has tools for text and html changing, converting, and generating, designed to assist in making web pages or preparing content for web publishing projects.