Wikipedia is a good source for information. It is a good source, that is, if you just want some general information that random people have contributed on a topic. Wikipedia is not a resource for academic research works. In fact, no encyclopedia should be used when students conduct serious research. The question then becomes, can a student find scholarly websites for serious research? The answer to that question is yes, provided students have the ability to find them. In order to make your “journey” through the web in search of research websites a bit easier, we have compiled a list of the most reputable places with a brief description.
This is sort of the scholar’s rendition of Ask.com. Students can pose a question based upon the topic they have chosen for an essay or paper, the search engine will spit out resources from government, reputable and established non-commercial sites, and from universities. This is one of the most highly respected scholarly search engines on the web. In fact, teachers and professors use it for their own research.
Among academic search engines, this one is pretty cool. It focuses on the type of scholarly literature that grad students need for their research. Just enter some keywords or phrases, and Google will churn out papers, books, dissertation abstracts, theses, current research articles from scholarly journals, and more. These are primary source materials.
Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC)
This “library” is maintained by the U.S. Department of Education and currently holds more than 1.3 million resource materials – dissertations, technical reports, policy papers, research syntheses, targeted scholarly journals and articles. Students can search in virtually any content field and find hundreds or resources. If is one of the most commonly used research websites for students who are beginning their theses or dissertations – all primary source material.
Intute is not a library of itself. Rather, it is unique among academic search engines, based in the UK that will point students to appropriate websites for their research. Students can enter their specific topics and receive the names and URL’s of scholarly websites for their research. This site is particularly cool because it also has free tutorials produced by professors and librarians related to web-based research.
Here is a science student’s dream among all other research sites. It houses over 350 million pages of articles, journal publications, and major research works from respected higher education institutions everywhere.
Virtual Learning Resources Center
If you want to find any scholarly website related to any academic discipline, you will want to use this research website. It is actually an index and houses the names of scholarly websites that are recommended by professors, high school and university librarians. The student can plug in his/her topic area and immediately get a list of reputable websites that house scholarly publications in that academic field.
This is one of the best educational search engines for high school students, although undergrad students find it really helpful as well. It provides both primary and secondary resources for any topic. The neat additional feature is that is has a citation generator tool for APA, MLA and Chicago format style.
The perfecct site if you are looking for a specific book. Type in the book title and this great site will searh through libraries looking for it. Ultimately, it will tell you where you can find that book in a libarary geograpically close to your location. It will do the same for video and CD’s. Students can search for other digital sources like audiobooks and other rare text that is not available publicly.
Undergrad and grad history students will never need to look for another source. This is the door to the Library of Congress’s nine million-plus digital documents – all primary sources - including books, articles, sound recordings, maps, etc.