15 Resources for More Efficient Online Research

Personally I use Google almost for all my research requirements, however I use it wisely with various  advanced options and logic within the keyword fields. And I do read more than the first page of search results. Probably less than 1% of Google users do more than a very basic search. Justin Osborne, a teacher from Leicester UK got tired of students using Google unimaginatively and offers a set of alternative tools to pump up your research.

In a survey from 2012, 94% of teachers said their students thought that research and Google were the same things. See? Almost 100%. And that is the first resource I found after typing a keyword. If I researched better, I’d had more recent and more specific information for you.

This brings us to a question: is Google effective for conducting research? It can be if people knew how to use it well. Most of them don’t. They usually take the first few sources and rewrite them, so they’d trick the reader into thinking it’s something unique. That doesn’t work.

So how do we make research more effective? Here’s a list of 15 resources that support that goal:

Grammar Girl

When conducting research for papers, reports, presentations, or anything else, we should also search solutions for grammar issues.

This website is the best source of grammar tips you’ll ever find. It also works as a search engine. Whenever you’re not sure about grammar, you should just type a keyword and voila – the Grammar Girl reveals a solution.

Disclaimer: I use “grammarly” plugin for similar needs.


The name of this website sounds like something a teacher wouldn’t approve of. But, these hacks are quite useful for students and anyone else who’s trying to conduct research. You might even recognize some of the tricks you’ve used before. You’ll find effective tips on how to learn new things more easily, how to do research, and how to write better projects.

Disclaimer: I use “quora” for similar needs. Just add it to the keywords.


From time to time, you come across serious obstacles when conducting research. If you don’t have access to paid online libraries and you don’t have time to go to the real library, then you can benefit from the help of professional researchers.

At this website, you can connect with expert researchers and writers, who have access to an immense library of scientific and academic resources. They can help you conquer any research challenge.


Everyone keeps telling you that research has to be organized. You know you have to know where your information comes from, but somehow you keep losing track. As a result, you fail to provide proper references when you submit the content that results from this research. That’s not okay.

Wunderlist is a tool that can help. It’s a general to-do app, which you can use to plan the stages of completing a paper. However, you can also take notes during the research process, so you will know where all ideas come from.

English Oxford Living Dictionaries

Be honest: sometimes you don’t understand the words used in academic papers. Academics have a way of making the simplest things sound really complicated. When you read resources like these, you absolutely need a dictionary. Try this one; it offers clear definitions you can understand.

Disclaimer: I use “wikipedia” for similar needs.


Students, researchers, entrepreneurs, and all intellectually curious have unlimited access to great books thanks to Bartleby. Fiction, nonfiction, verse, reference-worthy resources… everything is available. Explore this tool and you’ll be surprised with the improvement in your research skills.


What’s the best way to get out of a writer’s block? How about a quote? It can open the doors to research and writing. You can use BrainyQuote to search for the right quote on any topic. When you find that such a quote, it will trigger ideas. Explore the work where it comes from. If it’s relevant to the topic, you’ll have the first research source to start with.

Disclaimer: I use this a lot. Just add “quote” to yoru search line. Brainy quotes come first.


Do you need to use facts? Of course, you do! That’s what the research process is all about – finding facts. There’s no need to read several academic papers to find the right resources to use. You just need a tool that extracts specific facts relevant to your topics. This is the one.


This tool acts like your personal research assistant. And a clever one it is! It automatically senses the content in your browser. When it suggests a smart save, you can add it to a personal library with a single click. You can organize these libraries and search through them. It’s like having a librarian watching you surf the web and telling you what to use.


Open access journals and papers coming your way! No one expects you to pay for the resources you would use for a paper unless it’s an extremely serious research project that’s about to get published. For simpler projects, free resources work just fine. The only problem is: they are not easy to find through Google. That’s why you need Paperity – a search engine that leads you to relevant discoveries with free access.


So you found some resources. You use them to support their arguments. Then what? You need to reference the resources in a proper format, right? But that’s so boring and hard to do. Make it easier! Try refDot – a Chrome extension that automatically creates and stores references.

Data Elixir

This weekly newsletter curates data from science news and resources from around the web. It’s free and searchable. You can use it to find scientific data to support their arguments.

Cold Turkey

When you research, you use the Internet. When you use the Internet, you end up on Facebook. Every. Single. Time. How do you stop that inner drive for getting distracted? Simple: block the distractions while working on research. Cold Turkey is the perfect tool for that.


This tool helps with the research and its organization. It also covers the referencing part automatically. The users can store and share an unlimited number of references and resources. It’s great for teamwork, since up to 100 people can have access to a single reference library.

Google Scholar

It’s the serious version of Google. It’s just as easy to use, but it leads you to reliable and relevant sources of data.

Disclaimer: adding “arxiv” and “pdf” to the regular google search brings deeper and more academic results.

Fun and easy research? Isn’t that an oxymoron? Not when you use the right tools. It’s possible to discover the excitement of online research. You just need to explore the right resources. Try the ones we suggested above and tell us what you think.


Justin is a teacher from Leicester, UK. When he has a minute, he loves to share his thoughts and opinions about education, writing and blogging with other people on different blogs and forums. You could follow Justin on Facebook and Twitter.

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5 Replies to “15 Resources for More Efficient Online Research”

  1. Search engines are an intrinsic part of the array of commonly used “open source” research tools. Together with social media, domain name look-ups, and more traditional solutions such as newspapers and telephone directories, effective web searching will help you find vital information to support your investigation.

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