Best Academic Research Resources

Best Academic Research Resources

Looking for reliable academic sources online can be a challenge. These online resources will help you find credible sources for your academic research. Using these resources, researchers and students can improve their research and produce high-quality academic work.

Every college student conducts research at some point. And professors have strong views on what counts as a credible academic resource. Choosing the wrong sources can hurt your grade.

So how can you conduct research efficiently while avoiding sleepless nights in the campus library? Online academic research websites make it easier to find reliable sources quickly.

College students conduct academic research in all kinds of disciplines, including science, history, literature, engineering, and education. And when it comes to college research papers, academic resources are the best sources.

Rather than pulling random facts from the internet - and running into problems with citations - college students need to know how to find credible sources and how to use online academic tools.

Here is the list of the best credible sources for your college research needs.

1. Google Scholar

Google Scholar is perhaps the most popular tool for finding scholarly literature on a plethora of topics. Google Scholar brings together academic articles and ranks them based on the authors, publication location, and citation record. Google Scholar makes it simple for anyone to explore academic papers, theses, case law, books, etc.

On the search results page, you can view the author name, journal title, and total citations, which can help you gauge the credibility of the paper. Similarly, you can view related articles to explore the topic in detail.

Besides helping you find relevant information, Google Scholar lets you organize articles in your library. Create labels, sort by dates, and maintain a reading list to keep up with the latest research in your field.

You can also create your Google Scholar profile to show your work on Google Scholar and track citations to your work.

2. ResearchGate

ResearchGate is a great option to find open-access academic sources. Scholars upload their work to ResearchGate, which makes it available to the public for free.

It’s a networking platform for researchers, having over 20 million accounts. You can follow other researchers, share your work, and ask questions from domain experts. Similarly, you can showcase your research and projects to a wider audience and receive feedback. Based on your profile, ResearchGate can also help you connect with potential job opportunities.

With over 135 million pages of scholarly literature, ResearchGate helps you explore publications on various topics and follow specific projects/questions. Creating an account here is free. But, you’ll need to have an institutional email address or go through additional checks to ensure you’re a researcher.


JSTOR is an online library with academic journals, books, and primary sources from many fields. It was started in 1995 as a non-profit organization by JSTOR Inc. and a number of academic institutions.

More than 12 million academic articles and books from more than 2,000 publishers are in JSTOR’s online library. Content on JSTOR comes from many different fields, such as the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences.

Individuals and institutions can subscribe to JSTOR’s digital library, and researchers, students, and scholars worldwide use it as a reliable and complete resource for academic research.

4. Library of Congress

As the largest library in the world, the Library of Congress is an amazing online resource for academic research. Students can search its collections to access digital resources, videos, audio recordings, photographs, and maps.

The library's materials also include notated music, web archives, legislation, and 3D objects. You'll find materials for almost any topic in its extensive collections. You can search historic American newspapers from 1777-1963 with the Chronicling America tool or look up pirate trials in another digital collection.

5. Mendeley (PDF Reader)

Mendeley is much similar to Zotero, as it allows you to save papers, organize your library, and add citations in various styles.

What sets it apart though is that it has a user-friendly interface and a search engine for finding research papers. You can narrow the results down by year, journal title, author, and document type.

Directly from the search results page, you can add papers to your collection and view Open Access papers. Likewise, Mendeley Data lets you find research datasets.

Mendeley has a career section with thousands of listed vacancies—a great resource for finding technical jobs. It is available, both as a desktop application and a web-based tool (with browser extension). The free plan allows you to store 2 GB of data, after which you'll have to pay $4.99 per month or more, depending on your needs.

6. Zotero

Zotero describes itself as “your personal research assistant”, and we tend to agree. The tool cuts down on several monotonous tasks, like collecting research sources and adding citations.

If you have saved hundreds of information sources, finding the information you need can be difficult. Zotero solves this problem by letting you organize files into categories and assign keywords. With each saved item, you can add notes, attachments, and related material.

Zotero also simplifies the referencing by creating citations and bibliographies. Although the Zotero desktop client offers more features, the browser extension can save sources in the online library, letting you organize, tag, and cite them.

Best of all, it allows collaboration and sharing of documents. Zotero is a free, open-source project. However, you'll need to pay for storage if the 300 MB free plan doesn’t work for you.

7. SciSpace (Typeset)

If you spend hours on getting the formatting correct, SciSpace is for you. This awesome web-based editor makes it simple to write and format your research papers, thanks to the huge collection of templates.

Besides publishing tools, SciSpace can help you discover academic research articles, scholarly literature and has an index of over 270 million papers. So you can search for papers by topic, authors, journals, and institutions.

From a single editor screen, you can write, format, add citations, check plagiarism, and insert tables. You can collaborate with other researchers directly using SciSpace.

SciSpace has a free plan, albeit with quite limited features. So if you’re serious, you can subscribe to SciSpace for $20 per month.

8. Microsoft Academic

Microsoft Research created the free public search engine Microsoft Academic. It offers scientific, technological, engineering, mathematical, social science, and humanities research papers, journals, conference proceedings, and other scholarly publications.

Microsoft Academic leverages advanced natural language processing and machine learning to recognize author, publication, and research domain relationships, making it easier for scholars to find relevant material and track field changes. Citation analysis, research network visualization, and author profile management are also available.

9. WorldCat

When you're looking for library resources, WorldCat is one of the best tools. Connected to over 10,000 libraries, WorldCat is a database that allows you to search library collections.

The database lists books and articles available at your local libraries, making it easier to find materials that are not available online. In addition to books, WorldCat contains music, videos, audiobooks, and scholarly articles.

You can also find digital research materials, including photos. When you're logged into WorldCat through your university library, you can also access full-text articles and other resources. Or you can use WorldCat to find sources to request through interlibrary loan.

10. Your University Library

When you're conducting academic research, your university library can be one of your best resources. In addition to online databases, journal articles, and books, your campus library also has academic librarians who can point you to the best sources.

Some libraries have accounts that allow access to paid academic journals, resources from other universities, and even online newspaper archives. The libraries may also have hard-to-find media stored in their local servers, allowing you to pull it up when you're using their computers.

When you don't know where to start, reach out to an academic librarian to learn more about your school's research tools. Or use interlibrary loan to get a scanned copy of an article. Many of the campus library's resources are available online, making them easy to access.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Search Engine Is The Most Effective For Academic Content?

Google Scholar is, without a doubt, the best academic search engine available. It utilizes Google's efficiency for locating scholarly publications and patents. Free research papers are available in all academic disciplines, and links to PDF files with the whole text are typically available.

How to Find Credible Sources for Research?

Finding the most reliable websites for research starts with evaluating the website itself. Sites run by academic or government organizations rank high in reliability. Databases and specialized search engines can also provide good research sources. Next, make sure you understand the source of the information and the process used to publish it. Scholarly articles and books that undergo peer review make for the best academic resources.

How to Access Academic Resources?

Many sites offer open-access resources. That means anyone can access the materials. Other sites restrict what you can read. For example, you might find some blank pages when searching on Google Books because of copyright restrictions. And many academic articles are behind paywalls.

Whether you're writing a research paper for school or investigating a bold claim making the rounds on social media, you should always check to make sure the sources are credible.

In conclusion, the best websites, tools, and resources for academic research offer students, scholars, and researchers a wealth of information and tools to help them in their quest for knowledge.

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