The Internet is an immense swamp, a terrain of bots, trolls, and magnificent treasures. People are apt to get lost in it and lean on unreliable guides for navigation.
There’s a massive mess of information (and misinformation) online. Sources frequently aren’t reputable or easily traceable. Even when it’s accurate, the information often isn’t relevant for a specific research purpose. Picking your way through it requires some internet savvy and critical thinking, along with strong organizational skills.
Fortunately, there are robust sources of information available, and tools to help people stay focused and organized when conducting research. What research resources can you turn to online? They range from enormous databases to tutorials for writing academic articles and citing sources. The following are six resources to look into:
Geared primarily towards scientists, it’s a huge list of tools for gathering, organizing, analyzing, sharing, and writing about different kinds of data.
The link leads to only one section of a massive guide on writing research articles. Under “Finding Sources,” EasyBib lists a variety of places to look up scholarly papers and statistics.
Many on this mega-list are university writing centers that include tutorials about research papers and instructions on formatting citations. The Online Writing Lab (OWL) from Purdue University is one that I’ve relied on to doublecheck AP style guidelines.
DiRT categorizes these digital tools based on what you need, anything from visualizing data to converting files to annotating text.
Among their recommendations are Evernote, Zotero, and Mendeley. One of the items on their list is an additional list of tools for generating bibliographies.
Links to thousands of academic, public, and government libraries around the world.
(I’ll also throw in a link to WorldCat, which will help you find books, DVDs, and other materials in libraries near your home.)
Important to keep in mind…
Using these resources won’t necessarily steer you away from misleading information. There are plenty of scientific papers, for example, based on poor methodology and yielding doubtful results.
A while ago I wrote a post on evaluating the credibility of Internet sources. It may help you make sense of what you find in the swamp. Also, don’t hesitate to reach out to me for assistance with research, writing, and editing, as I have extensive experience with all three.
(Image source: Wikimedia Commons.)