5 Prominent Research Resources That Students Can Use

Research Resources
Where do you seek data for research papers or class projects? If you’re like many faculty students, the research process begins and ends with Google. You’re certainly not alone. Google has dominated the market for two decades, and for good reason: it’s notoriously easy to use. Unfortunately, ease of use doesn’t imply accuracy—and as a college student operating within a vast digital landscape, you need to feel confident that every resource you utilize is reputable. Thankfully, Google represents just one of the many available resources. According to a dissertation writing service, many academic search engines offer targeted results and access to the most relevant Journals, Citations, and other resources. These websites will transform the otherwise arduous process of gathering data.

Balancing life as a student means that time management and study resources are of utmost importance. When you have to hit deadlines, study for tests, maintain good grades, read for classes, and write papers, there are a lot of moving pieces throughout your educational journey, so it helps to instill good habits and practice tools to alleviate the burdensome load of student life. When you can adapt these skills and develop a routine, studying becomes easier and more efficient. In order to make your degree worth every last drop, solid studying skills will promote better learning and help to alleviate stress.

Google Scholar:
You love everything about google—especially its intuitive design and pages upon pages of results. But have you stopped to consider whether the information you find there is accurate? While the search engine’s current algorithm purports to emphasize quality over keyword stuffing and other metrics, you are by no means guaranteed results worthy of inclusion in your next term paper. Enter google scholar. This targeted search engine offers instant access to a variety of academic resources. Its process looks virtually identical to the typical google keyword search. The results, however, deliver relevant studies from prominent journals and other reliable resources. While this shouldn’t be your exclusive source of academic information, it will provide an excellent jumping-off point.

Microsoft Academic:
A top alternative to Google Scholar, Microsoft academic relaunched in 2016 following a disappointing run that petered out in 2012. Thankfully, the 2.0 version offers excellent results while optimizing the search process. This resource utilizes a concept known as semantic search to take the actual meaning of words and phrases into account rather than relying exclusively on keywords. Microsoft academic identifies many elements of search queries as ‘entities,’ which represent top concepts for organizing data. Top examples include:
  • Institution
  • Conference
  • Author
  • Paper
  • Journal
  • Topic

These entities are accompanied by easy-to-identify icons which facilitate users to determine the relevance of search results. In general, this resource is a perfect option for spanning the divide between a conventional search engine and targeted research site.

Educational Resource's Information Center:
A top resource for aspiring teachers and other professionals, the educational resources information center (ERIC) boasts a massive database containing over 1.3 million bibliographic records such as abstracts and citations. Some of these dates back to the 1960s. Resources from peer-reviewed journals dominate the digital collection, but ERIC also provides access to a variety of non-journal documents. Examples include:
  • Books
  • Conference presentations
  • Reports for federal or state standards
  • Working papers from policy organizations
  • Congressional hearings
  • Sponsored by the institute of education sciences, this resource has long held high esteem among educational professionals, who consistently turn to it for accurate insights.

ResearchGate:
Trusted by over 16 million researchers, this top search engine currently provides results from over 135 million publications. The site was founded in 2008 by 2 physicians and a computer scientist. Since then, it has exploded as both a social network and a leading source of academic information. Described by the New York times as a mashup of Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, ResearchGate encourages users to connect with people who express interest in similar fields. The site is currently dominated by users seeking and providing information on biology and medicine. It also includes notable niches in computer science, engineering, and psychology.

Bielefeld Academic Search Engine:
Operated by the Bielefeld university library, the Bielefeld Academic Search Engine (BASE) draws from over 7,000 sources to provide users access to over 150 million documents. Paid subscriptions give the greatest value, but open access users can still look to the academic search engine for journals, digital collections, and more. The BASE approach emphasizes quality over quantity. Yes, you'll find more results elsewhere, but with BASE, you can take solace in knowing that all sources are checked by qualified personnel to ensure full accuracy. This should be your go-to resource if you want to feel 100% confident in any data you encounter while searching the internet. Elsewhere, you may find it more difficult to verify source validity.

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