If you’re performing work that requires in-depth sources, such as academic studies or a job that requires heavy research, finding quality sources can be hard. Using bad or shaky sources to prove points can cause a lot of trouble: it brings down the strength of the work as a whole and makes it harder to prove its point. Fortunately, we live in an age of easy-access information and education, and with that comes education search engines.
These specialist search engines focus less on providing general results to a search query and more on articles from academia and news. This makes them perfect choices for someone who needs solid, citable sources without much hassle. While there’s nothing particularly “incorrect” about using a search engine like Google or Bing to perform research, using education search engines will make sure to bring up dependable, informative articles that you can cite with confidence in your work.
What kind of education search engines are out there? Let’s take a look at five examples, each with their own fortes and ways of helping you perform top-quality research for your projects.
1. Google Scholar
Don’t be mistaken; this isn’t just regular Google! This is a branch off of “regular” Google searches, called Google Scholar. Instead of a general search, you can use it to search books, studies, and even court cases.
On the main page, simply enter the search terms that you’re interested in looking up. Google Scholar will then go through its database and pick out relevant examples. If your research is very time-sensitive (such as technology), you can select options on the left to change how recent you want your sources to be, up to and including the current year.
If you’re writing a piece that has a strict sourcing style, Google Scholar gives you template cites for its sources. Find the template that suits the style standard, then simply copy it directly into your citations to save yourself some time.
Currently in a public beta, RefSeek is a pretty solid choice for general research. It takes a more website-based approach, bringing up relevant but highly dependable websites for whatever you want to research. It’s a great way to pull up multiple articles relating to a specific object. For example, if you wanted to learn about computer processors, a search brings up lots of great articles.
RefSeek does more than just searching, however; if you’re studying in a specific field, RefSeek also has a “directory” page which acts as a great directory of useful websites related to education. Once you choose the category you’d like to browse, RefSeek brings up a list of productive sites to help you with your studies.
Citeulike is one of the more powerful education search engines if you’re looking for papers and studies specifically. After entering a search term, Citeulike brings up all the studies it has on the topic. If an article is regarded as “trusted” by Citeulike, it will have a tick-mark next to it. You can also see groups that are interested in your search term, see quick abstracts for each article before checking the full version, and hide all the details for quicker browsing.
Once you’ve found a paper you think you’d like, clicking on it will bring you to its page. Here, you can see all the websites the paper can be found on, export the article to different formats, and generate a citation template for that paper. This makes Citeulike highly useful if you want solid, dependable studies to read though and cite on your work.
iSeek is a powerful tool for finding studies in your area of interest. Don’t be fooled by the seemingly small results list – iSeek displays results in pages of 10, and if you searched something quite scientifically popular, there’s going to be a lot of pages on the topic. If the sheer amount of results overwhelm you, you have a selection of filters to apply on the left.
Each result comes with a direct link to the source, as well as an option to email results to people. The sources can also be rated out of five stars by other users which can help you locate the more important sources for your research.
5. Virtual LRC
Virtual LRC is an interesting website for research. While it operates mostly like any other engine, the real key to working with Virtual LRC is its filtering ability. There are a few categories at the top of the page after you search; by clicking these, you can filter the results using the category you selected. For example, if you search for “coffee,” you can click on “News/Opinion” for general news articles about coffee, “Health/Medicine” to read about the current positive and negative health effects of coffee, or “History” to learn about how coffee came to be. This makes it quite a diverse engine that can be used to display topics in specific viewpoints.
Study Well, Not Hard
No matter how much you love or hate researching facts, making it an easier task is always welcome. If you’re an avid fact-hunter, hopefully these education search engines will serve you well in your studies.
Are one of these your favourite way to search for studies to cite? Do you know of a academic search engine that suits you better? Or does a simple Google search do the trick for you? Let us know below in the comments.