Proper research is crucial for not only formulating personal opinions but for developing strong papers and arguments and not just for a degree but in any career or professional setting. There’s a wealth of power that comes with knowledge of how to research well for whatever topic you are pursuing.

Knowing how to look for and find good and verified information is a skill business-owners, research-facilities, and universities everywhere admire. Identifying and utilizing the best resources for doing so is the key to unlocking this potential.

If you know how to research well, the rest is easy. Here are some ideas to help power your own learning and to get you ahead in any industry.

Google Scholar

It’s been said plenty of times, but Google Scholar is a wonderland for educational research. There are millions of papers that are generally credible, interesting, and available for free. They even come with easy citations if you are writing a paper that needs references. Other references you can look at online include article storage spaces like JSTOR, Science Direct, and Project MUSE. If you are currently attending a university or are an alumni of one, you might also have access to local papers, published articles, and journals. Talk to the library and see how you can access these research facilities from home.

Wikipedia Sources

Wikipedia articles themselves are not great resources for research, but the sources you find at the bottom of an article can lead you to more credible information. You can read the basic overview on Wiki, but if you scroll down a little, you will find a world of information related to your topic. If you’re trying to learn about a genus of cactus, you’ll find plenty of information by experts who have published in the field of plants and cacti. This is great for building a foundation for a research paper. Make note of the credible professors or professionals who have added to the page and make a list of reading material you can check out from the links and tags at the bottom as well.

Research With Project Gutenberg

This is an online project that helps connect people to free e-books for research or even casual reading. If you’re looking deeply into a topic, this source can be endlessly valuable to you. There is even an option to volunteer at Project Gutenberg. This is a great opportunity to help other researchers and to put more knowledge into your hands. You’ll learn a lot about cataloguing, and will be able to expand your network of published professionals and research journals.

Your University Library

You probably know that your university library provides access to tons of peer-reviewed articles, journals, and tidbits of information that can be valuable to you. In most cases, you need to ask for the specifics so you can gain access. Getting an online masters of education in higher education will require your knowledge of navigating the library at your school, so you’ll be grateful for those resources when it comes time for dissertation writing. Even your local city library contains a lot of published research and scholarly articles. Just ask about the reference section and number and see where you can get started in your subject area.


Using a fact-checking service is also useful for doing your own research. During an election season like in 2016, it’s critical that you fact check your information before sharing it with others, or talking about something you may know very little about. This website does a great job of compiling information, and it is a reputable source that anyone can easily use. It’s a good habit to get into if you’re fond of having long discussions with friends and casual encounters about the current state of politics. You can also find handy apps like these that can streamline the process ever further.

As a life-long learner, it’s important to look at all sides of an issue before making a judgment call. It’s expected that you look at your opposition as well as what you agree with. People will always present different perspectives that will give you a stronger foundation for supporting your research and opinions. As you go forward in a career or even just academically, having a good background in research and base like this can help with moving you into a new career or toward graduation. Use the resources you have now to improve your researching techniques and to help you become a better lifelong learner.


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Brooke Chaplan


Los Lunas, NM

Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. Connect with Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.

All posts by Brooke Chaplan

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