Skip to Main Content
Use this guide to learn about the research process and plan your research project.

Welcome to the Research Planning Guide

Step 8: Power Searching

Sometimes professors will allow you to use reliable websites or other sources in addition to the books and articles supplied by the library.

Internet research can be interesting and exciting, but you need to be careful.  Make sure that the sources you use are suitable for a college-level assignment and will be accepted by your professor.  Here are some great sites to help you launch your academic internet research:

  • Google Scholar - separate from regular Google, Scholar is devoted to scholarly literature: books, articles, academic websites, journals, conference papers and proceedings, and much more.  
  • Directory of Open Access Journals and Directory of Open Access Books offer the opportunity to search the contents of academic journals and books that are freely available on the web.  These sites are an important part of the ongoing "open access" movement in academia.  
  • Salem Press - Is a perfect tool for research, reference, homework, studying, and entertainment. It includes an in-depth exploration of American history and sociology topics, including Racial Tension, Surveillance, Whistleblowers, the Supreme Court, and more.

The Web VS. The Databases

Web Sites

Library Databases

Free – MOST of the time; some sites may eventually ask you to sign up or pay for access, especially to scholarly materials

Free to you – Databases require very expensive subscriptions, but these are paid for with your tuition dollars so they're free to all DBU students

Broad results – Popular sources for the general public; sometimes scholarly

Broad OR focused results – Popular AND scholarly

Format – Text, images, audio, video.

Format – Mostly text, but some databases also provide audio, video, and images.

Changeable – Sites disappear, change addresses, relocate to new domains

Stable – Content is archived and remains available and permanent

Searching - Not efficient; subject to advertising; paid results display first 

Searching - Efficient and organized; advanced search techniques built in