Online Research Tools

Online Research Tools for Digital Citizens

Get an updated refresher course to make your students' research more effective. We'll share tools and sites and even demystify Creative Commons licensing for you.

Search Engines & Informational Sites


Once called a social media app, you will now find it classified as a news app. Consider search using the filter:news query.


This is a great tool if you are researching multiple topics. Think of it as your personalized magazine of blogs, websites, and other postings related to your specific topic(s). Web | iOS | Android



This numerical data search engine looks for data found in graphs, tables, and reports. You can customize your search to by date, location and/or filetype (PDF, Excel, HTML, and/or images).


Smithsonian Digital Learning Lab

Explore and use the digital learning resources from the Smithsonian’s nineteen museums, nine major research centers, the National Zoo, and more.



Powered by Google Custom Search, KidRex is a search engine designed by kids for kids. Check our their page for Parents.



Though it may seem rather plain, you can expand your resources by easily locating papers that others have cited.

Google Public Data - Search various databases to find detailed information and statistics. Can get overwhelming if you aren't careful.

Great Websites for Kids: Reference Desk - The ALA has curated very specific websites that help you researching information based on what kind of information you need.

LibrarySpot - Tons of links to various sites for students related to a wide variety of topics.

Fact Monster -Easily explore and learn new facts at Fact Monster by using their well-organized categories.

National Geographic for Kids - Kids can learn about all sorts of animals. They can also watch videos, play games and earn badges based on their interests.

Citation Tools


Creating your citations has never been easier. Choose from several different citation styles and use templates to make your citing faster. Check out their essay tools and citation guide for more help. Get EasyBib EDU for your school for free for the 2016-2017 school year!


RefME helps you collect and manage your research. Lots of reference styles supported. Use their iOS or Android app to take photos of text and turn into digital text as well as scan barcodes for collecting bibliographic information.


This reference manager is very well done...and probably for the more serious (and older) students doing research. Mendeley will suggest possible relevant articles based on articles you've already posted in your library. Kind of like a cross between a social media site for researchers and reference tool.

Google Resources for Researchers

Google Custom Search Engine

If you have specific sites that you want to constrain students to use when researching online, consider creating your own custom search engine. Google makes it easy to do. You can create multiple ones so that you can share a different search engine with different classes. This is great when you teach multiple subjects and/or multiple grades. When done, you'll get a unique url for each custom search engine. For details on how to create one, go to their help page.


Google Alerts

Have students create Alerts that will have Google email them as soon as it finds their information newly posted on the web. This is kind of like have a butler that continues to scour the Internet for what you are looking for and only tells you when it finds newly posted instances of it. Go to this brief tutorial showing you how to create your own Google Alerts.


Google Scholar

This part of Google's search engine is focused more on books, research, patents, and legal documents. After doing your initial search, you can refine the date range of your search to provide more relevant results.



This browser extension automatically loads the next page of results when search. Nice, handy tool. Choose between Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Opera browser add-ons. Main website and help is in Chinese.