Tuesday, 24 July 2018 01:18

22 Online Research Tools for College Students

By  Audrey Pilcher

The importance of research skills for college students is difficult to overstate. They are helpful for any field of higher education and enable to develop independent critical thinking skills along with written and oral communicational skills.

More reasons why college students should do research are:

  • It allows exploring different career options
  • It helps to build skills that can be transferred to the workplace
  • It enables to contribute knowledge and impact the world.

In fact, research done by students is one of the main drivers that move science forward; for example, the many contributions made by students of the University of Oxford and the University of Manchester are listed on special pages of their sites.

Since every research begins with background research, having effective tools is a must to develop new knowledge. Therefore, this article seeks to introduce a large collection of research tools for you to use for your academic research.

List of Online Research Tools

Planning Research

1- Mind42

A free online mind mapping tool that doesn’t require installation and runs in your browser. By using Mind42, you can create advanced structured diagrams called mind maps for your research projects to ensure that your organization and planning are perfect.

2- XMind

Another mind mapping tools used by both students and businesses that deliver smart idea organization. Works for mobile, PC, and Mac.

3- Creately

Use a wide variety of pre-designed diagrams and concept maps to better plan your research.

Doing Academic Research

4- Google Scholar

A must-have tool developed by Google allows searching for peer-reviewed articles and other credible information from reputable resources. Just type keywords in the search bar, and the system will generate a list of resources.

Automatic referencing in the most widely used styles is also available.

5- Lazy Scholar

One of the main barriers for college students doing research is a lack of access to paid scholar libraries. This Chrome Extension works to help with finding free resources on Google Scholar; for example, when you open a scholarly article on Scholar, this tool gets to work searching for a free full text. As the result, it can save you a lot of time that you would spend on looking for full texts.

6- Wolfram Alpha

This is a computational intelligence tool that is essentially a search engine for scientific knowledge. Using Wolfram Alpha allows computing expert-level answers on a wide variety of subjects, including math, physics, chemistry, engineering, arts, political science, statistics, finance, and many more others.

For example, if you’re writing a report on planet Venus, type the name into the search bar and you’ll get lots of information including orbital properties, physical properties, atmosphere, current solar system configuration, real images, current sky position from your location, visiting probes, and many more. And you can download all this data in one file!

7- ResearchGate

Another superb research tool for students that is also a social networking site for anyone interested in doing research. Users can upload their studies and publications, look for collaboration with other scholars, and follow updates from interesting profiles. For students, this means an opportunity to download free peer-reviewed papers as well as a direct communication with authors. Cool!

8- Scientific Journal Finder

If you’re looking to find a peer-reviewed journal on a specific area of scientific knowledge or publish your research, this site could be a great option for you. It has multiple tools including Journal Recommender and Journal Finder for you to get your unpublished article to the right people. And, of course, you can do some serious journal research.

9- A-Writer

Human assistance with research is always a good thing, especially if you’re just beginning your way in this area. Use this tool to get tips on finding resources, describing, analyzing, and critiquing scholar results, citing and referencing, avoiding plagiarism, and writing in the academic style.

Efficient Time Management

10- ManicTime

This is a simple downloadable tool that allows tracking and tagging your time so you know how much time you spend on actual work.

11- Remember the Milk

Managing a research project, especially a large one, can be a challenging task. Use this tool to improve your management by prioritizing tasks and outlining the entire project (by the way, Remember the Milk was actually created by people who were “fed up with constantly forgetting things”).

Reference Management

12- Mendeley Reference Manager

Read, organize, and cite academic sources used for your research with this tool. You’ll also like the fact that it allows creating and searching your personal library, which is perfect for large projects such as dissertations.

13- Citation Machine

A simple and easy-to-use free reference and citation maker that also has lots of writing resources, plagiarism and grammar checker, title page builder, and other useful tools.

14- Citation Styles

If you’re not sure what citation style you have to use in your academic assignment or need to define a style based on examples, this is the tool to use.

Educational Search Engines

15- Lexis Web

This search engine is designed specifically for law students and allows to filter the results by site type, practice area, jurisdiction, and other relevant factors.

16- Microsoft Academic

A special search engine for academic content created by Microsoft. It uses natural language instead of keywords to deliver rich results to users.

17- Sweet Search

This search engine uses Google to search for information that is relevant for students, which enables to find necessary scientific information faster.

18- iSeek Education

If you want to look for credible resources provided by reputable sites and scholars, this engine is a good option because all content is editor-reviewed.


19- Proofreading Tool

When your research is done, it’s time to proofread the text. This is where this tool comes in. It helps to make you are writing great by identifying common mistakes such as clichés, passive phrases, vague phrases, slang, misspellings, incorrect punctuations, and many more others.

20- Grammarly

Another popular proofreading tool and plagiarism checker used by students all around the world to find mistakes in texts.

21- Ginger Grammar Checker

Ginger is a Chrome extension that works as a contextual spelling checker, vocabulary enhancement tool, and sentence rephraser.

22- SpellChecker

This tool gives the option to check your research papers for grammar and spelling mistakes in English and 24 other languages.

Aside from these internet research tools, there are also plenty of more interesting online research tools and academic search engines listed here.

Audrey Pilcher is a passionate blogger and freelance writer at  college-paper.org. Being engaged in numerous international internships during studies, she gained invaluable experience. Since then Audrey was willing to share it with others.  Therefore, she became an article writer on studying, self-growth issues.

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