There's no doubt the Internet opens up an enormous, ever-expanding world of resources when it comes to gathering information. But if well-founded, quality research is what you're after, the Internet is hit or miss. Don't get us wrong -- a good ol' Internet search is great to use as a guide when you're starting to research a topic. When you're writing a research paper, however, the paper will only be as strong as the sources cited. Since Web searches tend to pull up many results that have the potential to be far from credible, students need to break the "just google it" habit.
To steer them in the right direction, we've narrowed it down to 12 of the best tools for quality research and proper citations. For research, even the youngest of learners can benefit from PebbleGo, a kid-friendly, searchable database that covers a variety of topics from animals to biographies. Older students can dig into findingDulcinea and Noodle Tools, which both offer curated lists of comprehensive resources. To help them organize information they want to cite, Citelighter and Diigo offer ways to bookmark, highlight, and save information for later analysis and writing. And to aid in appropriately citing this research, EasyBib can create instant bibliographies to round out any research project. Not only can using these tools lead to better grades, they can reinforce a lifelong practice of strong information literacy skills, which are critical to 21st-century learning.