The best online research tools for students in this list contains:
- Alternative Search engines
- Advanced search queries tips
- Links to posts which contain LISTS of resources
- Links to sites which contain all kinds of primary sources (video, audio, images, etc).
- Academic research tools and Techniques to find more about your topic.
The list’s been updated as of July 2022 but if you’ve got a suggestion or question, please leave a comment in the end.
We’ll start with the basics (for those without a topic). Skip it if you already have yours.
Finding Your Topic
Pick a Topic
|Free and family friendly web site reviewing high quality internet resources.
|Like google but only showing results for academic sources. Time saving!
|The bottom page of google will show you “related topics” when you search for a keyword.
|You can also use other search engines like Bing or Yahoo to check “related searches”.
Narrow Down Your Topic
|Use RSS feeds to find the latest articles on your topic.
|You can use any search engine: Google, Yahoo, Bing, Badoo then narrow down results by date, type, sub topic and so on. This site contains all the basic tricks.
|After you found an article on your topic, check the links, sources and TOC to get narrow down topics as shown below.
|Check the latest news, data and trends people are searching for.
|Get a quick summary of all the main points “For” and “Against ” a topic
|Get the Pros & Cons for a wide variety of subjects.
BackGround For Your Topic
|Search engine for students. Use it to get USEFUL and RELIABLE search results only.
|Go to an article related to your topic, then check for resources and links embedded in the article.
|The second best encyclopedia after wikipedia. Follow the same tips.
High Quality Results
Chosen By Experts
|Find Guides made and picked out by experts on the topic.
|Another search engine that will narrow down results to those that are relevant for your topic and picked out from academic sources.
Ask The Experts
|You can find good quality answers from quora. Just make sure to check profiles to see who seems to be qualified to do so. High quality links are also common.
|Ask a librarian
|If you’re in college you can ask your librarian. If you’re not, you can try send an email.
|Library of Congress
|Find Official maps, photos, videos, stats, documents, maps, audios and so on.
|Find official documents, sources and archives.
|Get images and all kinds of other materials taken out of online exhibitions which are published by libraries, societies and musems around the world.
Peer Reviewed Journals
|A search engine for academic published material like journals and research papers.
|Directory of Open Access Journals
|An alternative to google scholar. Only journals with free access are shown.
|Official Data right out of the US Government’s database.
|Northwestern’s list of official gov sites.
|Information and services from the UK’s government website
In depth Info About Countries & Territories
|CIA World FactBook
|The CIA’s site has a cool list of ALL countries with all the stats and facts you need.
|(UNPO) Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization.
|This site will take of those occupied nations, minorities, indigenous people and independent states and territories that might not be on other lists.
Science & Engineering
|You need a subscription here but you’ll find books, journals and conference proceedings that may not be on other search engines.
|Research papers, articles, patents and journals for all scientific disciplines.
|National Science Digital Library
|The above may be too technical for some so you can use this search engine to find articles and results based on your education level.
|All health topics can be found here and the results are accessible to most people.
|Likewise, all health topics explained here are way easier to understand than wikipedia.
|You want to use this if you just want basic information about the body.
Legal Docs, Agencies and Legal News
|A search engine for any law-related topic: cases, news, questions and so on.
|Legal Information Institute
|Use the search bar to get info about any law topic. Results will include primary sources and academic articles. There’s also a list to access a given topic.
|State Legislative Websites Directory
|A list of all states legislatures and territories’ sites.
Creative and Performing Arts
|Rhode’s Island university’s list of arts and humanities resources.
|Art History on the Web
|Resources Organized by timelines of art history.
|Contains thousands of links to selected to free journals in the arts & humanities.
|Click on the search bar to get the option to narrow down results to the last hour.
|Once you type a query and get the results you can pick those within the last hour.
|Google news always give you the results for today. You can also refine your search any category and location.
|Today’s news and headlines trending in the UK (world-wide news included).
|Cool gallery of today’s headlines of newspapers across the country (~800 newspapers).
|Use the advanced search feature to set a time frame for results. Ex: 2002-2010.
|You will find more results if you ALSO use Yahoo Search’s option to set a time frame.
Recent & Detailed
|BBC Special Reports
|Very in-depth reports of current world news.
|New York Times Topics
|Use the NY times left sidebar to access articles and news of the topics listed.
|Cool news site which includes lots of facts & statements made by politicians in the government.
Long Term Studies & Reports
|In Depth-news and report investigation.
|Center for Public Integrity
|Reports of iissues “to reveal abuses of power, corruption and dereliction of duty by powerful public and private institutions…”
|Center for Investigative Reporting
|Shocking revealing news including scandals and corruption stories.
Period (Era, Decade, Century)
|Choose a year and a topic and get a cool timeline with all the information and images avialable in that period.
|Wikipedia List of Timelines
|Wikipedia’s very own list of timelines for any topic. Ex: human activity timelines, film industry timeline, The universe Timeline, etc.
|Primary source of MORE documents and images. You can narrow down results by topic, period, type and location.
|Use the search bar to find thousands of essays for a given topic.
|Cool resource list of quality sites that contain primary sources, historical documents, multimedia files and guides.
|Ancient History Sourcebook
|List of online resources of ancient-texts, images, audios and more. There’s a search bar and menus to narrow down to your topic.
|Get the ancient history results through the search bar.
|Access bios, videos and articles. You can search by name, profession or any other keyword.
|Another search engine for bios. Results include links related to what they did and profiles of related people.
|Dictionary of Canadian Biography
|Bios for the most famous Canadians in history.
|CIA World Factbook
|Facts and issues of every country.
|Documents of historical, social, economy, political and national security information of countries.
|Facts of every state in the US.
Corporations & Companies
|NYPL: Searching for Company Information
|A guide to find a company’s information.
|A search engine designed to take questions as queries. Thus it’s easier to get straight to the point for most straightforward definitions and simple questions.
|A wikipedia-like site which has simpler but expert reviewed answers to topics.
Opinion and Perspectives
Takes on Current Issues
|Most results are written by anchors, columnists, cartoonists, basically people with a goiod background for a given issue.
|Get the headlines of every state’s newspapers as well as the headlines from international newspapers.
|Public Opinion Polls
|Get Public Opinion results of several import key issues across the country or within a region.
News As Seen From Other Parts of the World
|News and Issues as seen from each country about their own country or the world.
|A collection of online newspapers of every country.
|ABYZ News Links
|News sites, broadcasting sites, newspaper sites , magazine sitesnews and press agencies of every country.
Pespectives on trending, social and political issues
|Pro/con on current social issues written by experts. Links to related articles.
|An overview by the public of current social issues with pros and cons.
|UN News Centre
|Get News & issues as seen by the UN from each region and country
Compare news treatment
|Front pages of U.S. newspapers to compare
|Get news & reports from +100 countries and in +60 languages.
|Find your own street with photos of each house next to it. Works for any part of the world.
|Alternative to Google Maps. Use it to get a different view of the same location.
|National Geographic Maps
|All kinds of very detailed maps for academic and travel purposes.
|American Fact Finder Maps
|Get statistical and census data through maps.
PhotoGraphs and Visual Images
|Know how to properly use advanced settings to filter results by size, resolution & more.
|Same as google.
|Use the search bar to find photos for your topic then filter your results.
|Search artists, subjects, locations. You can filter results to images, articles, books, museums,etc. Or Just browse around the site for your topic.
|Google Video Search
|Works just like regular google. Filter results through the advanced search tool.
|Alternative to youtube. Filter results by categories and subcategories.
|Search engine for films, documentaries, news, series and all kinds of videos for academic purposes.
|Public Radio Fan
|Radio shows & podcasts around the world.
|To learn the history of a song search “Song title + Origin” .
|Find sound effects and mix samples. You can filter results format, resolution, sample rate and size.
|Get audio records of speeches, lectures, debates, events, interviews in text, audio and video formats. No search bar but a nicely organized list.
|History and Politics Out Loud
|Browse full audio with transcripts of historical events, figures, songs and more.
|Get sound recordings of historical events( Ex: speeches).
|Classic passages, phrases and proverbs.
|Find quotations by categories, authors, purpose and subject.
|Find a quote through the search bar or through the categories shown in the menus.
|Find data and statistics around the world.
Dictionary & The Saurus
|Merriam-Webster Dictionary and Thesaurus
|Get definitions, synonyms and audio-pronunciation
|Slightly different version of Merriam-Webster. More specific and shorter explanations for a meaning.
|The problem with wikipedia is that ANYONE can edit the articles. Although they are 100% accurate MOST of the time, this isn’t the case for all articles though since some editors may be biased towards a topic.
|Unlike wikipedia, this is a bit more reliable since only experts are allowed to edit articles.
|Information Please Almanac
|Find quick and short summaries for any topic: A U.S State, a biography. Usually fact and statistics are returned.
Books & Other Printed Works
|Search engine for books, reviews, journals, documents. You can check if they’re available at your local library too.
|Scholarly articles and journals. Find more info by looking at citations. Advanced search lets you filter results by author, title, date and subject area.
|Type a keyword and get book results. The engine can also find excerpts of books containing your query (it can look inside books).
Notifications of New Results Sent to You
|Subscribe to a topic and get notifications of new results everyday.
|Alternative Sites for Alerts
|List of the most popular alternatives to google alerts.
Results of COuntry By Origin
|Type “site+ : + . ‘initial of country’s name’ ” to get results from a certain country. Ex: “bears site: .ca” looks for websites about bears in canada.
Search Engines From Other Countries
|Search Engine Colossus
|Cool list of ALL Most popular search engines & website directories of every country.
Sources by File Type
|Google’s advanced search option allows you to select file type (.pdf, .ps, .doc, .xls, .ppt, .rtf)
|Click on File Format and choose a file type (.html, .pdf, .doc, .xls, .ppt, .xml, .txt)
Are you a…
|Very Cool looking search engine for kids. You can narrow down the topic by clicking one of the category buttons Ex: “Biology”.
|Kid friendly results with educational content included.
|ipl2 for Kids
|Kid friendly search engine for essays.
|Safe search engine for kids. Kid friendly design too.
*The point of using other search engines is to get different results for a given topic. Search engines are not created equal and one isn’t really better than the other. Just more popular
|Bing, Yandex, DuckDuckGo
|Great alternatives to Google.
|Second-go to search engine after google.
|Google’s Advanced Search
|I suggest you read this tutorial to unlock the power of advanced search.
|Unlike Google, you can narrow down search results by category,
- I am physicist and electrical engineer. My knowledge in computer software and hardware stems for my years spent doing research in optics and photonics devices and running simulations through various programming languages. My goal was to work for the quantum computing research team at IBM but Im now working with Astrophysical Simulations through Python. Most of the science related posts are written by me, the rest have different authors but I edited the final versions to fit the site's format.