100 Online Research Tools For Students (2022) – For Every Topic

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.

I  suggest using the sections first especially if you’re working on a more specialized topic like biology, history, etc. After you do that You may look through the whole list to find more tools for your research topic or subject.

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

If you click on any of the links the topic will narrow down to more specialized topics.
RefDesk Free and family friendly web site reviewing high quality internet resources.
RefSeek Like google but only showing results for academic sources. Time saving!

Related Topics


If you click more and advanced tools (right) you’ll get more options to filter results.

 

Google The bottom page of google will show you “related topics” when you search for a keyword.
Bing You can also use other search engines like Bing or Yahoo to check “related searches”.

Narrow Down Your Topic

If you click more and tools, you’ll get more options to filter your results.

 

RSS Use RSS feeds to find the latest articles on your topic. 
Vulcano 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.
Wikipedia After you found an article on your topic, check the links, sources and TOC to get narrow down topics as shown below. 

 

Trending Topics

Type a keyword and use the related topics trending right now to get some ideas.

 

Google Trends Check the latest news, data and trends people are searching for.

Controversial Topics

If you want to talk about something controversial, you can save a lot of time by looking at just the pros and cons quickly to see if they’re good material for you.

 

Idebate Get a quick summary of all the main points “For” and “Against ” a topic
ProCon Get the Pros & Cons  for a wide variety of subjects.

BackGround For Your Topic

Sweet Search: The topic here is “Jazz Music” note how there are no results for actual music but rather history and composition articles.

 

SweetSearch  Search engine for students. Use it to get USEFUL and RELIABLE search results only.
Wikipedia  Go to an article related to your topic, then check for resources and links embedded in the article. 
Britannica  The second best encyclopedia after wikipedia. Follow the same tips.

High Quality Results

Chosen By Experts

Some search engines only include results from highly reputable sites.
Libguides Find Guides made and picked out by experts on the topic.
Infotopia 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

 

Qualifications are listed on their profiles and at the bottom of their answers.

 

Quora  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. 

Primary Sources

You are not going to find primary sources from wikipedia or any other encyclopedia. They rarely cite primary sources.

 

Library of Congress Find Official maps, photos, videos, stats, documents, maps, audios and so on. 
Archives.gov Find official documents, sources and archives.
Smithsonian Library 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

 

Google Scholar is the most popular search engine for academic journals which you can use as sources but there are several other more which may be better depending on the subject. If physics, you can go to arxiv for example. If engineer, IEEE.
Google Scholar   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.

By Discipline

Goverment Info

USA.gov Official Data right out of the US Government’s database. 
Foreign Governments Northwestern’s list of official gov sites. 
UK Government 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

Scopus You need a subscription here but you’ll find  books, journals and conference proceedings that may not be on other search engines.
Google Scholar 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.

Health

MedlinePlus  All health topics can be found here and the results are accessible to most people.
Mayo Clinic Likewise, all health topics explained here are way easier to understand than wikipedia.
Kids Health You want to use this if you just want basic information about the body.

Legal Docs, Agencies and Legal News

FindLaw 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

Resources Rhode’s Island university’s list of arts and humanities resources.
Art History on the Web Resources Organized by timelines of art history. 
JURN Contains thousands of links to selected to free journals in the arts & humanities.

By Timeline

Last Hour

Google Click on the search bar to get the option to narrow down results to the last hour.
Google Trends Once you type a query and get the results you can pick those within the last hour. 

Today

Google News Google news always give you the results for today. You can also refine your search any category and location.
NewsNow Today’s news and headlines trending in the UK (world-wide news included).
FreeDomForum Cool gallery of today’s headlines of newspapers across the country (~800 newspapers).

Recent

Google Use the advanced search feature to set a time frame for results. Ex: 2002-2010.
Yahoo News 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.
PolitiFact  Cool news site which includes lots of facts & statements made by politicians in the government.

Long Term Studies & Reports

ProPublica 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)

History World 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.

Historical

American Memory Primary source of MORE documents and images. You can narrow down results by topic, period, type and location.
ipl2 Use the search bar to find thousands of essays for a given topic. 
Digital History  Cool resource list of quality sites that contain  primary sources, historical documents, multimedia files and guides.

Ancient

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.
ipl2 Get the ancient history results through the search bar. 

Facts

People

Biography.com Access bios, videos and articles. You can search by name, profession or any other keyword. 
Who2  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.

Place

CIA World Factbook Facts and issues of every country.
Country Studies Documents of historical, social, economy, political and national security information of countries. 
Stately Knowledge Facts of every state in the US.

Corporations & Companies

NYPL: Searching for Company Information A guide to find a company’s information.

Quick Answers

 

Ask.com 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.
Britannica Encyclopedia A wikipedia-like site which has simpler but expert reviewed answers to topics. 

Opinion and Perspectives

 

Takes on Current Issues

Yahoo News  Most results are written by anchors, columnists, cartoonists, basically people with a goiod background for a given issue.
Headline Spot 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

World Press News and Issues as seen from each country about their own country or the world.
Newspaperindex 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 

ProCons Pro/con on current social issues written by experts. Links to related articles.
Public Agenda 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

Newseum Front pages of U.S. newspapers to compare
PressReader Get news & reports from +100 countries and in +60 languages.

Specific Types

Maps

Google Maps Find your own street with photos of each house next to it. Works for any part of the world.
Yahoo Maps 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

Google Image Know how to properly use advanced settings to filter results by size, resolution & more.
Yahoo Images Same as google.
Flickr Use the search bar to find photos for your topic then filter your results. 

Fine Art

Artcyclopedia Search artists, subjects, locations. You can filter results to images, articles, books, museums,etc. Or Just browse around the site for your topic.

Video Sources

Google Video Search Works just like regular google. Filter results through the advanced search tool.
Aol Video Alternative to youtube. Filter results by categories and subcategories.
Internet Archive Search engine for films, documentaries, news, series and all kinds of videos for academic purposes.

Radio

Public Radio Fan Radio shows & podcasts around the world. 

Music

Google To learn the history of a song search “Song title + Origin” .

Sounds

FindSounds Find sound effects and mix samples. You can filter results  format, resolution, sample rate and size.

Speeches

American Rhetoric 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.
American Memory Get sound recordings of historical events( Ex: speeches).

Quotations

Bartleby.com Classic passages, phrases and proverbs.
Quotations Page Find quotations by categories, authors, purpose and subject.
Quoteland Find a quote through the search bar or through the categories shown in the menus. 

Statistical Data

World Statistics Find data and statistics around the world. 

Dictionary & The Saurus

Merriam-Webster Dictionary and Thesaurus Get definitions, synonyms and audio-pronunciation
WordCentral Slightly different version of Merriam-Webster. More specific and shorter explanations for a meaning.

Encyclopedias

Wikipedia 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.
Britannica Encyclopedia Unlike wikipedia, this is a bit more reliable since only experts are allowed to edit articles. 

Almanac Data

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

WorldCat  Search engine for books, reviews, journals, documents. You can check if they’re available at your local library too.  
Google Scholar Scholarly articles and journals. Find more info by looking at citations. Advanced search lets you filter results by author, title, date and subject area.
Google Books Type a keyword and get book results. The engine can also find excerpts of books containing your query (it can look inside books).

Special Requirements

Notifications of New Results Sent to You

Google Alert  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

Google 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 Google’s advanced search option allows you to select file type (.pdf, .ps, .doc, .xls, .ppt, .rtf)
Yahoo Click on File Format  and choose a file type (.html, .pdf, .doc, .xls, .ppt, .xml, .txt)

Are you a…

Elementary Student

KidTopia Very Cool looking search engine for kids. You can narrow down the topic by clicking one of the category buttons Ex: “Biology”.
Kids Search Kid friendly results with educational content included.
ipl2 for Kids  Kid friendly search engine for essays.
Kiddle Safe search engine for kids. Kid friendly design too.

Newbie

*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.
Yahoo Second-go to search engine after google.

Expert

Google’s Advanced Search I suggest you read this tutorial to unlock the power of advanced search.
Exalead Unlike Google, you can narrow down search results by category, 

 

 

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