When you’re writing a paper or conducting a research-intensive project, you might turn to Wikipedia for a quick examination of the material. As informative and entertaining as this “collaborative online encyclopedia” can be, Wikipedia is generally not considered a credible source to cite in your college-level research papers. Even Wikipedia itself encourages readers to carefully evaluate the information because “anyone can edit the information given at any time.”
Popular search engines, such as Google and Yahoo, are often loaded with advertisements and can really hamper your effectiveness, sending you down one research rabbit hole after another. You need a list of search engines that are reliable, reputable, and free.
However, some search engines only have citation, or index info, on articles – not the full-text.
“I recommend students search in the library databases for any articles that are not in full text in these engines, or reach out to library staff if they need extra help to find sources,” said Tracy Ralston, Post University Library Director. “For instance, we have access to Lexis-Nexis Academic, which has more access to statutes, law journal articles, etc. than Lexis Web. Plus, we have a huge variety of sources (journal articles, newspapers, online videos, etc.) that go way beyond these search engines.”
So, as stated on Wikipedia, “Remember that any encyclopedia is a starting point for research, not an ending point.”
With that in mind, here are … 7 of the Best Educational Search Engines for Students:
1) Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC)
One of the best deeper web search engines designed for academic research, ERIC is maintained by the U.S. Department of Education. You’ll find more than 1.3 million bibliographic records of articles and online materials just a click away. The extensive body of education-related literature includes technical reports, policy papers, conference papers, research syntheses, journal articles, and books.
2) Lexis Web
Indispensable for law students and research projects that require legal citations, Lexis Web populates this search engine with validated legal sites. It’s easy to narrow your search by site type (blog, news, commercial, government) and filter by jurisdiction, practice area, source, and file format.
3) Google Scholar
This must-have search engine for research lets you easily find relevant scholarly literature, such as books, theses, abstracts, and articles, across many disciplines and sources. Google Scholar ranks documents by taking into account the full text, where the document was published, who authored it, and how often and how recently it has been cited in other scholarly literature. Find literature from academic publishers, professional societies, universities, court opinions, and other credible organizations.
4) Microsoft Academic (MA)
Enjoy fast access to “continually refreshed and extensive academic content” from more than 120 million publications including journals, scientific papers, and conferences. Because MA is a semantic search engine, not a keyword-based one, it uses natural language processing to understand and remember the information contained in each document. It then applies “semantic inference” to glean the intent of your search and delivers rich, knowledgeable results that are relevant to your needs. MA 2.0 debuted in July 2017 and gives users even more personalized and improved search capabilities.
5) Wolfram Alpha
Find dozens of ways to put this “computational knowledge engine” to work for you. Need to compute the frequency of a musical note or better understand your brain’s anatomy? No problem. Just type in your question, and your answer immediately pops up. Not only a go-to education search engine, this fun tool is great for your downtime because it includes categories like Sports and Games and Surprises, in which you can search for jokes, tongue twisters, and famous lines.
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6) iSeek Education
This targeted search engine was created for students, teachers, administrators, and caregivers, and all content is editor-reviewed. You have access to hundreds of thousands of trusted scholastic resources provided by universities, government, and reputable noncommercial sites. Numerous filters in the sidebar make it easy to quickly target your results and refine your search by topic, subject, resource type, place, and people. Instantly identify lesson plans, school subjects, activities, and grade levels.
Science majors love this dynamic social networking site for scientists and researchers that not only provides access to the work of 13 million researchers, it lets users ask them questions. ResearchGate’s collection of publications and the frequently updated “news from our members” blog provide a vast array of works that cover timely topics including culture, the environment, politics, health, science, and space.