Much research requires efficient data searches. For textual analyses that means inter alia knowledge of the lexical universe of the language, in which your data come. For the quantification of several methods, such as frame analysis, it is also important to get an idea about collocations of lexemes.
Word maps are the most useful lexical helpers for social research with texts. They not only list the synonyms and antonyms of words, but also increasingly report collocations of terms as well as word frequencies in general (or topic-specific) discourse.
In the absence of online thesauri, it is often a good idea to consult extensive online dictionaries, which frequently contain hints for synonyms.
If you are doing comparative research, these dictionaries might come handy.