Wikipedia is often unreliable, but where else do we go for information? Finding accurate sources can be difficult, especially if we don’t already have some knowledge of our subject.
If this sounds familiar, fear not. We’ve rounded up a list of reliable sites you can use as starting points for deeper research.
The Library of Congress -This is a wonderful resource for historical texts and photos, though newer materials are less likely to be available online. You can request interlibrary loans or use their Ask a Librarian service for research assistance, sometimes even live via online chat.
Wolfram Alpha – While this site mostly focuses on math and science, they’re gradually branching out into more diverse subject matter.
Google Scholar – Good for finding scholarly articles, though some results may be behind paywalls.
Encyclopedia Britannica – You may need a subscription to read some articles in full, but the entries are packed with relevant info and provide valuable links to other sites.
Biography.com – Useful for researching well-known people, including personal information (if available) without straying into gossip. Also includes reliable articles on history and culture.
ThoughtCo – Half BuzzFeed and half encyclopedia, ThoughtCo is great for stimulating ideas. It doesn’t offer specific research information though, so don’t let it distract you if you already have a goal!
Questia – You have to pay for full access, but the free previews can help you determine if a source is worth pursuing. Questia also has tools for saving and organizing your research if you decide to subscribe.
WorldCat – This site features a massive catalog of media from libraries around the world. Most results will be physical copies, but it will tell you the closest library that has it and link you to that library’s entry for the item (if they have an online catalog).
What sites do you use to start your research process?
Dee is a moderator and blogger for Story Scribes. In her downtime she tries out various crafts, plays video games, and makes music. Currently, she’s working on a fantasy story that’s been trying to escape for a few years.