Research Tools for Students

How Stuff Works

A great research tool for younger students, with fascinating explanations and clear summaries of an eclectic mixture of academic concepts; from the combustion engine to the history of pizza!



Perfect for students researching anything and everything art-related, this enormous database covers individual artists, movements and museum collections.


Spark Notes

A great tool to help students get to grips with literature, Spark Notes offers a comprehensive database of summaries, character analyses and thematic breakdowns for hundreds of classic works, from Shakespeare to The Great Gatsby.


Internet History Sourcebooks

A wide collection of public domain and copy-permitted historical texts specially formatted for educational use. From ancient history and medieval studies to modern history, from Byzantine studies to Medieval New York, a wealth of information is provided for students researching history projects of any kind.



This tool is ideal for students following a variety of different research routes, as it enables them to keep everything together in one place, from links and files to personal notes. Research can be separated into different projects and is accessible from anywhere.


Library of Congress Research Tools

A fantastic collection of resources, including the Library of Congress’s own catalogue and an easy-to-use gateway to hundreds of other institutions’ catalogues. Includes historical and legal databases.



Though it cannot be relied upon for guaranteed factual accuracy, Wikipedia is nonetheless a useful source for students to glean information about little covered or particularly modern and popular topics. A good resource for teaching about the cautious treatment of sources, they can use it as a starting point and then follow the links to more reliable sources to confirm facts.


BioMed Central

An open access resource providing students with the opportunity to search over 170 medical, biology and chemistry journals. Articles are all peer-reviewed and suitable for research purposes.


Project Gutenberg

The project offers free access to hundreds of thousands of e-books including famous works. It is ideal for students to browse when looking for multiple texts and searchable digitized versions.


World Digital Library

A brilliant collection of online resources organized by geographical location, from books and manuscripts to journals, motion pictures and recordings. A great way for students to diversify their research beyond the written word alone.


What are your students’ favourite research resources? What are your best research tools for students? Share your tips below!


1st image courtesy of Flickr, HowardLake. 2nd image courtesy of Flickr, Maguis & David. 3rd image courtesy of Flickr, throwthedamnthing


  1. Thanks Laura. Nice article. Can I also recommend It’s a great tool for students to keep track of sources for research papers.

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