The Best Research and Reference Websites

Where to look when you need information

Research websites come in handy in all kinds of situations, whether you're looking for the average rainfall in the Amazon rainforest, researching Roman history, or just having fun learning to find information.

This list of the best research websites will help greatly, and most of them are updated daily with new information.

Learn how to organize your research to keep track of everything you gather online.

Best Research Websites

Person using laptop at a library.
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  • Library of Congress: LOC.gov lets you not only ask a librarian for help but also search catalogs of libraries from all over the world. This is truly a huge resource that should be on your Top 10 best research sites list. Anything from Academica Sinica in Taiwan to Yale University in the U.S. is here and ready to be searched.
  • ReferenceDesk.org: Dubbed "The Internet's Best Reference Source," this web directory is an extremely useful site that provides everything from business and finance information to federal government resources, scholarship details, links to newspapers and calendars, search engines, and more.
  • NASA's Ask An Expert: NASA's source for space and science research help; search the archives of answered questions to see if your question has been addressed, or use the drop-down menus to browse through missions, topics, etc.
  • USA.gov: This is where you should start when looking for specific government information.
  • Reference.com: Extremely simple to use with a basic layout, this reference website lets you browse by category or search by keywords to research everything from food and health to history, beauty, education, technology, vehicles, art, and more.
  • Refdesk.com: Billing itself as the internet's fact-checker, this reference site includes in-depth research links to breaking news, editorials, Today in History, Word of the Day, Daily Pictures, and other references.
  • Encyclopedia.com: The number one online encyclopedia that lets you search over 200 reference books and encyclopedias at once.
  • Encyclopedia Britannica: One of the world's oldest encyclopedias online; has featured posts and category listings.
  • Purdue University Quick Reference: Research site with tons of information that includes resources specific to Purdue University and surrounding areas in Indiana. It also includes an Ask a Librarian service.
  • Prescriber's Digital Reference: A wonderful research tool when gathering detailed medical information.
  • iTools.com: Serves as a gateway for reference and research links.
  • Baseball-Reference.com: This reference site has everything you ever wanted to know about baseball.
  • LibrarySpot.com: A research site that has indexed hundreds of sources. Includes a Must-See Sites list and a reference desk for a variety of topics.
  • FOLDOC: Free Online Dictionary of Computing is a detailed computing dictionary for researching the meaning behind computer-related tools, standards, jargon, languages, and more.

Depending on the type of research you're doing or how you need to reference the information, you may need quick access to books. There are lots of places to download free books online, plus sites with free textbooks and free educational movies.

Other Ways to Do Research

Search engines like Google are a great way to perform online research. You can locate books, articles, interviews, and lots more. Learn how to search better to get the most out of your research.

Another top source of expert information is your local librarian. Librarians are trained to find answers to obscure questions, they're friendly, and best of all, you can talk with them face to face. Librarians often ask you questions that you might not have considered, leading to even better results. You can get help from librarians online, too, through some of the sources above.