Common Searches

8 Must-Use Sites for College Educational Research

More research for college essays, labs, and assignments is being done online than ever before. There is less pressure to go to a physical library, yet finding the most useful information is not always as easy as typing your topic into Google. There are plenty of undiscovered sites out there that can help you find information in the nooks and crannies of the Internet — information that will help you take the reins of your research.

Be sure to ask your professor or T.A. what kinds of research are acceptable. You don’t want to quote from Wikipedia if your professor has banned it from the list of appropriate resources. Once you have a firm grasp of the acceptable sources for the class, use these sites to find the research you need:


Scirus is a search engine designed for students in the sciences. It searches over 350 million web pages to find exactly the right sort of research for your project. The sources it consults include academic journals, science sites, patents, institutional reports, etc. It helps users find technical and medical data, as well as peer-reviewed articles. It’s one of the most comprehensive resources for the sciences on the Internet.

Virtual Learning Resources Center

This academic resource is an index to thousands of scholarly websites, each of which is specifically chosen by academic professionals, teachers, and librarians from all over the world. The resources are kept current and include magazines and newspapers. They also provide a wide variety of topics from art and history to economics and foreign languages.

Noodle Tools

Noodle Tools hopes to give students an opportunity to search for references for papers or assignments. Users choose the appropriate search based on an analysis of their topic, or they look through a database of how-to articles. College students will particularly appreciate the citations generator.


Clusty claims to help with information overload in Internet searches. Clusty uses the concept of a cluster to help sort the signal from the noise. Instead of giving the user a long list of different types of sources, Clusty arranges its searches into keyword clusters. This makes the results more manageable and less likely to include items that are not useful to the project.


Infomine benefits from having been built by librarians — professionals who know a thing or two about how to organize information. It directs searches to a comprehensive academic virtual library that collects websites, databases, journals, books, and other materials. Librarians from a variety of American universities collaborated on building this resource.

Librarians’ Internet Index

Today’s librarians are information technology experts. Their expertise is in the construction and navigation of large archives of information. The Librarians’ Internet Index is another librarian-built search that combs through an extensive, annotated directory of online resources. It searches over 20,000 records to find results that are relevant to your project.


Another search engine for teachers, students, and academics, iSEEK is an expansive resource for finding research. Submit a search query or a topic, and it will provide a list of targeted results. It claims its results are collected from authoritative sources like universities and government sites.

Google Book Search

For years now, employees at Google have been scanning books in libraries and archives all over the world. Many of these books are searchable, and Google will even pull results from particular pages within the books. You can find your search terms within a book’s pages and then look at the larger passage for context.

Google Scholar

Google Scholar is a customized search engine that attempts to pull results not just from the web, but particularly from scholarly literature. This literature includes peer-reviewed journals, masters and PhD theses, books, and articles from academic publishing houses, conferences, scholarly organizations, and professional societies.

Educational Resources Information Center

The U.S. Department of Education built this resource for students and academics. It’s a bibliography with over 1.3 million records of articles and online resources. It also gives access to a large set of information about education, including journal articles, conference papers, dissertations, and policy papers.

Resources that collect academic information to better serve students and academics should be a regular part of your research routine. Don’t settle for unfiltered, disorganized Google searches. Instead, use resources to focus your search and find resources you never could have found otherwise.

CC Photo by Jennifer Carter

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