By Kelvin Cabrera
In this so-called post-truth era of fake news, doing your research online can be a tricky endeavor. Online trolls abound the internet to mislead people about current events, spread hoaxes and propaganda, or even deny the latest scientific findings (such as climate change being dangerous for our planet) or revise history (e.g., claim that the Holocaust did not happen). However, despite all of this, the internet is still a treasure trove of reliable information – we just need to know where to look.
Sites with peer-reviewed articles
Information becomes more reliable the more it is corroborated by other people. To illustrate, the scientific method itself requires that experiments must be repeatable and that those multiple experiments provide the same results for findings to be accepted as truth. Sites such as Google Scholar and Microsoft Academic contain vast archives of peer-reviewed articles that you can reliably use in your research.
Sites that reference encyclopedias and dictionaries
Sometimes, Google’s search results include links to items that look promising but just end up wasting your time. Sites such as Wikipedia and Answers.com take the noise out, though do be careful when using the former as it contains articles that lack citations from time to time. You can also immerse yourself in fully digitized books by going to Project Gutenberg. Named after the inventor of the movable type printer, it is the largest collection of free books on the internet, and even has links to other free online providers in case you can’t find the title you need there.
Sites provided by schools and governments
Premiere universities the world over have digital repositories of the original research they produce. The Edinburgh Research Archive by the University of Edinburgh is a great example of this. Sites built by governmental departments are also invaluable resources of impeccable information. For instance, for scientific research, the U.S offers WorldWideScience and Science.gov – both by the Office of Science with the U.S. Department of Energy. These tap databases from all over the world and pulls content from hundreds of millions of publications, including journals, conferences, and scientific papers.
Sites by reputable news agencies
Some of the best local and international broadsheets (such as Inquirer.net, Manila Bulletin, and the Washington Post) and TV news programs (such as ABS-CBN News and CNN) post articles and video feeds online for free, while others limit the free number of articles before putting up paywalls. There is a perk to digitally subscribing to papers such as the New York Times, and that is access to its entire archive from 1851 to present time. This truly beats having to scour the microfiche archives of public libraries.
Just Google it
Certainly, a quick online search will yield even more sites that are useful for research purposes. This article simply serves as a guideline for where to look. Doing research online saves time and opens up libraries from all over the world. Just remember to be mindful of trolls, and you’ll do just fine.