The sociological impact of the Internet has made it a necessary and efficient tool in college education. Before the Internet's popularization, college students needed to travel to local libraries and manually look through a library index. Today, students only need to have access to an Internet connection to find resources for their college papers. While finding resources has become easier, students may still face issues in finding reliable online sources. This article aims to help college students find credible and reliable online resources to improve the integrity of their college papers.

The Most Credible Internet Source For Research

The most credible Internet source will be dependent on a student's field of study and research method. Certain databases may contain credible sources for one field and offer poor-quality sources for others. However, college students may find academic search engines like Google Scholar and Educational Resources Information Center as the best provider of credible Internet sources. They are effective tools in finding credible academic sources suitable for college papers. They offer links to articles, websites, and other academic materials. However, students using these tools should still assess their credibility by identifying affiliations, author credentials, and other indicators of reliability.

Finding A Good Online Source

To find a good online source, students can identify a source's author, publisher, and other affiliation that supports its authenticity. Identifying academic articles and journals as peer-reviewed ensure that it is a reliable academic source. Students can easily assess peer-reviewed articles since websites will include "peer-reviewed" tags as indicators. Additionally, students can use website domains as indicators for a good online source. Websites using the domains ".edu" and ".gov" tend to be reliable since organizations with educational and governmental affiliations use them. Websites using the domains ".com", ".org", and ".net" tend to be less reliable since anyone can easily use them for their platforms. However, students should note that domains are not concrete indicators of reliability. Some sources for peer-reviewed articles, such as Jstor.org and journals.sagepub.com, use common domains while certain ".edu" websites may be less reliable since students operate them.

Best Type of Online Source

The best type of online source for a research paper is a peer-reviewed article from academic journals and websites. Peer-reviewed articles are papers that qualified experts have read and evaluated. A "peer-reviewed" tag indicates that a paper has passed expert evaluation and contains information that the academic community acknowledges. This is the best type of online source since students can guarantee that the information in the articles is credible. Additionally, peer-reviewed articles will always provide the paper's authors, publishing date, and publisher which are essential for citation entries. This allows college students to quickly gather data for their reference list and not look around for the information.

Best Online Sources For Research Papers

Google Scholar

Google Scholar is one of the best online academic resources due to its ease of access and quantity of available sources. Google Scholar is an academic search engine that acts as an alternative to the traditional Google Chrome. It functions similarly to any search engine but instead of providing the most-popular entry, it provides links to scholarly academic sources. College students can greatly benefit from using Google Scholar since they can easily search topics for their research papers. However, it is important to note that while the engine is reliable, students should still assess the credibility and quality of the results.

Sage Journal

Sage Journal is an academic publisher that provides peer-reviewed papers that are perfect for college research. Sage Journal's website offers a variety of journals, articles, papers, and other academic materials. These materials include newly-published materials which are essential for college papers. College students can utilize the platform to search for specific topics and acquire information for their research.

JSTOR

JSTOR is an online database that contains thousands of academic materials. These include peer-reviewed articles, journals, and images that are fit for academic use. While college students can easily access the website, JSTOR is a subscription-based service. It requires users to purchase subscriptions before they can access information on the platform. While JSTOR's premium service makes it a less desirable online source, it guarantees that the information it offers is credible.

Additional Tip: JSTOR allows visitors to read a one-page preview of a particular academic material. College students can use this to find relevant information that they can use in their papers. With luck, the preview page can be enough as a research reference.

Microsoft Academic

Microsoft Academic is another academic search engine that can act as an alternative to Google Scholar. It operates similarly to other search engines but with more focus on academic materials. Microsoft academic allows users to filter search results by author, publisher, publication type, and other criteria. The search result page includes information, such as author name and publisher, making it easier to find reliable sources. College students can use Microsoft Academic to find scholarly sources that they need for their research.

Statista

Statista is a reputable website that provides statistics about various topics. College students looking for specific statistical information are likely to find them on the website. Most statistic-related search entries also tend to have results linking to Statista. This makes it easier for students to access the website. However, some of the information on the platform requires users to purchase subscriptions before it allows access.

Additional Tip: Most statistic pages on Statista have a brief description that includes the author and the most relevant statistic on the topic. College students can use these descriptions as references even on pages that require subscriptions.

CERN Document Server

CERN Document Server is a scientific database that contains information regarding experiments, periodicals, lectures, reports, theses, and other academic materials. The platform mostly offers resources for scientific researches, specifically in the fields of physics and technology. While the information in the CERN Document Server is limited, college students may be able to utilize the website to cite ongoing experiments and studies which can be helpful for their papers. Aside from the limited topic range, CERN Document Server’s interface is not user-friendly. Some users may find it difficult to navigate the platform and find the information they need. Despite these limitations, CERN Document Server is a useful tool due to the credibility of the information it contains.

Science Direct

Science Direct is another scientific database that contains peer-reviewed academic materials. Academic search engines may likely direct students to the website which ensures that it contains reliable information. Unlike CERN Document Server, it provides access to a variety of science topics. College students can utilize Science Direct to find sources on physical sciences, engineering, life sciences, health sciences, social sciences, and humanities. The website has a search tool that students can use to find specific topics, journals, or authors. This offers an ease of access which can be helpful for students writing complex research papers. While most of the information in Science Direct is open-access, users can opt to register on the website to utilize advanced features which may be helpful for college research.

Science.gov

Science.gov is a scientific database that allows users to access federal science information. As previously mentioned, government bodies operate websites that use the domain “.gov”. This makes Sciece.gov a highly credible and reliable online resource since students can guarantee that the information is legitimate. Science.gov associates itself with highly-esteemed institutions, such as NASA, National Science Foundation, Department of Homeland Security, and more. These affiliations further support the reliability of Science.gov as an online academic resource. Through the website, students can search for any topics and find relevant academic search results. The website’s interface is user-friendly which makes it a great tool in college research.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Aside from its physical copies, the Merriam-Webster dictionary is available for free online. College students can utilize the Merriam-Webster dictionary to find definitions of terms that the academic community will accept. The dictionary does not only provide definitions but includes word etymologies, synonyms, and other relationships. The Merriam-Webster website also offers article entries that students can use as references for their research papers. The dictionary pages include article recommendations that are related to specific words. College students can utilize this feature to gather additional information which can help in their research. Additionally, the website allows users to copy citation entries which makes it easier to find the information for reference pages. Merriam-Webster is a simple and free tool that college students should always possess to help in their academic writing.

Educational Resources Information Center

The Educational Resources Information Center or ERIC is an academic search engine similar to Google Scholar and Microsoft Academic. The platform functions similarly to other academic search engines but with additional features that make academic research easier. ERIC allows its users to filter search results into “peer-reviewed only”. This feature allows college students to skip irrelevant sources and quickly gain access to scholarly ones. Additionally, students can also select a filter option to find sources with full-text availability. This is helpful in academic research since some article or journal links tend to only give access to research paper abstracts. College students can save time using ERIC since they can filter out less desirable results.

Conclusion

College students can choose from a number of the best online resources to use in their research papers. They can utilize academic search engines like Google Scholar and the Educational Resources Information Center to find links to scholarly sources. They can navigate through databases like Statista and JSTOR to find peer-reviewed and reliable academic materials. Additionally, students can identify the best online resources for their research by identifying reliable website domains, publishers, and authors. The best online resources will always depend on the needs of students and their type of research study.

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