Finding academic research online isn’t easy.

When I switched from teaching at colleges to online academic tutoring, I missed going to university libraries and having access to scholarly journals and other vasts amounts of research (whether I was there in-person or searching online).

So, I had to adapt and find other places to go to find credible sources and research.

Like me, not everyone has access to university libraries, including high school students and other adults who want to find other unique resources.  Now with social distancing guidelines, the need to perform online academic research is even higher than before. 

So, today I’m sharing with you my go-to places to find academic sources. 

 

Online Places to Go for Academic Research

Whether you are searching online because you don’t have access to the university library or are home because your library has closed due to COVID-19, these are places you can go to find academic research. 

 

#1  Directory of Open Access Journals– https://doaj.org/

 

What is it? 

DOAJ https://doaj.org/ calls itself a community-based directory where you can find journal articles from all different disciplines. DOAJ has a collection of over 14,000 open-access journals. All of the funding for DOAJ comes from donations.  You can search or browse journals or individual articles.  If you are curious about what they have, I recommend browsing the different subjects and seeing what journals are available.   

 

How does it work? 

DOAJ has a basic search where you type in your topic and select whether you want results that are journals or articles or both.  I choose articles because I want to find specific sources on a topic.  You can also search based on subjects, years, journal name, ISBN, keywords, and more. 

 

DOAJ Search Screenshot

#2 Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC)  https://eric.ed.gov/

 

What is it?

ERIC is a digital library with an index of over 1.7 million journal articles, reports, and more.   It’s perfect for researchers in education and related fields. 

You can find peer-reviewed sources, some of which are free in full-text PDFs.  Other sources on ERIC have indexed links that lead you back to the journal where an article was published. Usually, these are places where you will need to have a subscription to that journal. 

 

How does it work?   

Go to https://eric.ed/gov, and type in your topic into the search bar and decide if you want to select the options: peer-reviewed and full-text PDF.  Here’s how it looks with the search term “Teaching Academic Writing.”

ERIC Basic Search Screen Shot

After I searched for this topic,  I found 921 results.

 

ERIC Search Results Screenshot

 

I wanted to narrow this down, so I looked on the left side of my screen and narrowed down the results by year, so I chose “since 2019.”  Also, on the right side, you can narrow your search by descriptor (these are subtopics).  I selected “second language  instruction.” Now, I had 38 peer-reviewed full-text results. 

ERIC Search Results Narrowed Screenshot

#3 Google Scholar https://www.scholar.google.com

 

What is it? 

Google Scholar is an academic search engine.  Unlike Google, when you type a search term into Google Scholar, the results you get are all scholarly works.  Google Scholar has articles, books, published papers, and abstracts.  It also shows results from university libraries and other online resources.

 

How does it work?

Go to https://www.scholar.google.com   and type into the search box your topic.  Then look through the sources that show up.

Here’s a FB Live I did showing you step-by-step how to use Google Scholar:

One thing I love about Google Scholar is that you can set up alerts that will notify you when there is new research on your topic.  I also, find Google Scholar useful as a starting point for researching a subject.

#4 Journal Storage (JSTOR)  https://www.jstor.org

 

What is it?

JSTOR I https://www.jstor.org is a digital library that contains scholarly articles, books, and primary sources.  It contains over 2,600 academic journals, 70,000 ebooks, and over 2 million primary sources.  Most of these resources are in the humanities and social sciences fields.

 

How does it work?

You can browse sources by subject, title, or publisher or perform an advanced search that lets you narrow your results by author, title, ISBN, subject, and a range of years.   

Check out my step-by-step video, “What is JSTOR? How to Use for Online Research” to learn how it can help you find sources.

 

 

 

Many colleges and universities have subscriptions to JSTOR.  However, if you are not a student or educator at a university, you can have either a free or paid account.

The free account lets you read 6 articles per month and access 80% of their journal content from 1870 to 3 years from the current year.  The paid account for an individual is either $19.99 per month or $199.00 per year.  With a paid individual account, you have unlimited reading, and you can download 10 full-text articles a month or 120 articles a year.

Right now, JSTOR is doing something super-special from now until June 30th, 2020 they are letting anyone save and download 100 articles for free.

Also, JSTOR has a feature called “Text Analyzer.”  You can upload or drag and drop a document, and the text analyzer will scan it to see what topics the article covers and recommend other relevant articles. This tool is in beta form, so check it out see how it works.   

 

Other Go-To Places for Online Research

 

Internet Archive https://www.archive.org

The Internet Archive is a digital library with free books, texts, videos, audio recordings, webpages, and software.  While it has academic sources, you will also find fiction, non-fiction, poetry, etc.  You can learn more about Internet Archive in my blog post, https://www.academicwritingsuccess.com/what-is-the-internet-archive-the-ultimate-digital-library/.

 

The Library of Congress https://www.loc.gov/

The US Library of Congress(LOC) https://www.loc.gov/ has books, films, newspapers, periodicals, etc.  You can find original manuscripts and primary sources in many subject areas.

While you may not be able to visit the library, you can find many things online.  The Library of Congress has 420 digital collections you can search online. You can also request items from the LOC catalog. 

 

Doing Academic Research Online

When you search for sources, you are like a detective gathering clues.  There are places you can go for credible research, but you are the person who evaluates an article, book, study, etc. to see if it’s relevant. 

Don’t wait until the last minute to start searching for academic research online. You can’t rush through the process of skimming, reading, and taking notes.  You’ll need time to analyze what you learn so that you write a well-researched and persuasive academic paper. 

DOAJ, ERIC, Google Scholar, and JSTOR are excellent places to go for academic research, but you are the writer– you need to be persistent and try different search terms and strategies until you find what you need for a research paper.

Want to learn step-by-step how to write an excellent research paper?   Get The Free Ultimate Guide, How to Write a Research Paper That Will Blow Your Professor’s Mind! at https://www.academicwritingsuccess.com/free-guide-how-to-write-a-research-paper/