One of the hardest parts about doing academic research on the Internet is figuring out where to start! A search engine or subject portal is usually the first thing to try, but which are the most useful for your research need? Fill in the short form below, and we'll point you in the right direction. For every question, you can check any number of boxes (or none).

  1. I need to define my topic...

    I need to understand the scope of my topic
    I need to see related topics
    I need to refine and narrow my topic
    I need to choose a controversial issue
    I need background on possible topics

  2. I need to find quality results...

    I need authoritative sites chosen by an expert researcher
    I need personal help from experts
    I need sites ranked or tagged as valuable or relevant
    I need primary sources
    I need peer-reviewed journal articles

  3. I need to do research in a specific discipline...

    I need official government information
    I need in-depth information about a country or unrepresented territory
    I need science, technology engineering and mathematics (STEM) research or sources
    I need reputable health information
    I need legal documents, agencies or news
    I need creative and performing arts sources

  4. The timeliness of information that I need is...

    within the last hour
    recent (with analysis)
    long-term investigative reports
    a particular time period (decade, century, era)

  5. I need facts...

    a person
    a place
    a company
    general reference answers
    news background (facts, people, and documents)

  6. I need opinions and perspectives...

    I want opinions on current issues
    I need news from other countries' perspectives
    I want multiple perspectives on hot social and political topics
    I want to compare news treatment

  7. I need a specific type of media...

    photographs and visual images
    fine art
    statistical data
    dictionary or thesaurus (for definitions, etymology, pronunciation, synonyms)
    almanac data
    books and other printed works

  8. I have special search requirements...

    run my search periodically and be notified of new results
    specify a country where my search results are located
    use a search engine outside the U.S.
    find sites organized by the Dewey Decimal System or Library of Congress Classification
    locate resources by file type

  9. I am...

    a kid
    pretty new to the Internet
    an Internet wizard