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The Most Useful Resources for Students, Researchers and Writers [UPDATED FOR 2020]

A writer’s work has never been an easy fit. Whether you are writing an essay, a research paper, a dissertation proposal or an article, finding top quality resources can be a challenge. As a student, you have to submit essays, assignments, and dissertations relying on hundreds of reliable academic sources. Researchers and professional writers have to constantly explore new spheres of interest to gain expertise and make their publications critical and relevant to the readers. All this hard work is impossible to complete without reliable instruments supporting your research efforts. Professionals in this sphere use all time-saving tips and tricks that are available ranging from touch typing to specialised search engines allowing them to input the time span, article topics and keywords, and desired source types such as books or peer-reviewed magazines. The use of these instruments allows them to avoid the unnecessary routine and focus on the most important parts such as the development of own vision of the topic and your academic argument.

 

Below, we have put together a list of the most useful online resources for students, researchers and writers, to help you with whatever you may be writing.

 

Free Databases

In most research situations, you need a lot of high-quality books and peer-reviewed articles to learn more about the subject and form the main body of your Literature Review or theoretical discussion. Buying an expensive paid subscription may not be an option for all students while working from a university library can be time-consuming and inconvenient. The following databases provide a lot of free resources that you can use as well as specialised search engines allowing you to focus on relevant data from recent years, which is important for receiving a high grade.

 

 Resource  Link  Description
FRED Database  https://fred.stlouisfed.org/ This free database of macroeconomic and social data is included in the 1% of the most reliable and recognised research departments in the world.
 Google Scholar  https://scholar.google.com/ Google Scholar allows you to search for free and subscription-based research papers. This resource also provides searching by the author to find all works of a specific expert in your field of interest.
 Google Books https://books.google.com/ This popular resource grants access to millions of academic textbooks with a free preview offered for most popular titles.
IMF Database http://www.imf.org/en/Data The International Monetary Fund (IMF) database is invaluable for analysing the macroeconomic and social data of many developing economies, which is convenient for students in the world economy and world finance.
OECD Data https://data.oecd.org/ Another valuable resource created by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is focused on social projects and transformational projects in world economies providing invaluable data for social scientists and managers.
OECD Statistics https://stats.oecd.org/ This supporting platform from OECD is focused on statistical data about demography, finance, globalisation, industrial development, trade figures, and many other indicators of economic development.
Penn World Table https://www.rug.nl/ggdc/productivity/pwt/ If you are specifically interested in economic development indicators, the Penn World Table database allows you to compare multiple indicators such as productivity or income levels between 182 countries. The data presently covers the period from 1950 to 2017, which may be valuable for longitudinal analyses.
World Bank Database https://data.worldbank.org/ More recent data is usually available from the World Bank Database that is especially useful for exploring global debt statistics, poverty levels, and income levels. Some statistical information refers to large regions such as North Africa or the Middle East, which may be more convenient for macro-economic analyses of economic development.
Yahoo Finance https://finance.yahoo.com/ This database provides the most recent news related to major financial, social or economic issues on a global level. While its scope may be more limited than those provided by the previously mentioned professional resources, it may be highly effective for understanding the current trends in a certain market segment or geographical area and proceeding with more in-depth research afterwards.

 

Subscription-Based Databases

If your searches are more specialised or you are willing to explore a new area of knowledge that has not been extensively researched yet, you may want to focus on professional subscription-based databases. They usually offer the most recent information about many subjects and may even provide access to the most recent research studies of cooperating authors even before their official publication in the printed press. The following list includes a review of the most popular databases with the provision of their specialisation and knowledge segment to make your searches more convenient.

 

 Resource  Link  Description
Bloomberg https://www.bloomberg.com/ This resource is one of the global leaders in financial and market news. A subscription unlocks access to real-time data that is relevant, reliable, and verified.
BoardEx http://corp.boardex.com/ BoardEx has unique data about most global businesses including the lists of key senior managers and other corporate governance data. This makes it invaluable for both business analysts and academic writers.
Emerald Insight https://emeraldinsight.com/ This resource is another subscription-based database providing access to academic journals with a focus on business, marketing and management.
Jstor https://www.jstor.org/ This website provides subscription-based access to academic journals. Many older articles are available for free.
Lexis Nexis https://www.lexisnexis.com/en-us/gateway.page LexisNexis is a subscription-based resource granting access to legal papers and risk-related analytics. It provides highly interesting insights regarding corporate risks based on big data analytics.
Questia  https://www.questia.com/ Questia offers subscription-based access to academic journals and books with a focus on social sciences.
Research Gate https://www.researchgate.net/ This platform is a social network for scientists and researchers where you can access multiple papers and contact their authors.
ScienceDirect https://www.sciencedirect.com/ This resource provides subscription-based access to academic journals with a focus on science, economics and medicine. Some articles have a free access option, which may be convenient for adding new secondary sources to your work free of charge.
Statista https://www.statista.com/ A major paid-access database with social, economic, market and government data.
Thomson One Banker http://banker.thomsonib.com/ This resource is a subscription-based database with a focus on financial, accounting, corporate governance and market data.
Trading Economics https://tradingeconomics.com/ Trading Economics provides macroeconomic statistics related to recent trends with real-time updates.
Wharton Research Data Services https://wrds-web.wharton.upenn.edu/wrds/ This subscription-based database is focused on financial, accounting and economic data collected from multiple sources that is assembled into convenient datasets by professional experts.
Wiley Online Library https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/ Subscription-based access to academic journals and books with a focus on social and physical sciences.

 

Software

It is almost impossible to write a high-grade dissertation based on quantitative data without using specialised software tools such as SPSS or Matlab. However, professional products in this sphere can assist any type of data analysis and research writing by allowing you to process qualitative information more efficiently or improve your writing style. The following table offers the most popular software used by researchers in various spheres.

 Resource  Link  Description
Eviews (Software) http://www.eviews.com/home.html Statistical Software
Grammarly https://app.grammarly.com/ This software can be used as a Microsoft Word plugin to check your articles, essays, and other documents for grammatical errors before submission. While its recommendations are not correct in 100% of all cases, it is invaluable for getting rid of most typos.
Hemingway App http://www.hemingwayapp.com/ The Hemingway App is another life-saving tool for beginning writers that can boost the quality of their writing manifold within the first several days of use. Effectively, it analyses your papers for readability issues and suggests better phrasing options.
Matlab (Software)  https://www.mathworks.com/products/matlab.html Statistical Software
Nvivo https://www.qsrinternational.com/nvivo/home Software for qualitative research
R (Software) https://www.r-project.org/ Statistical Software
SPSS (Software) https://www.ibm.com/analytics/data-science/predictive-analytics/spss-statistical-software Statistical Software
Stata (Software) https://www.stata.com/ Statistical Software
Statista https://www.statista.com/ A major paid-access database with social, economic, market and government data.
Wolfram Mathematica https://www.wolfram.com/mathematica/ Statistical Software

 

Student Forums

No one knows the hardships of academic writing as well as university students and postgraduates. The following resources allow you to contact thousands of your fellow learners and ask for specific recommendations regarding your educational challenges.

 Resource  Link  Description
Reddit https://www.reddit.com/r/SampleSize/ This community is visited by students helping each other to fill survey forms and collect primary data samples. It may be optimal for pilot testing your questionnaires or getting advice from fellow academic writers.
The Student Room https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/ This is the largest online community of UK students that is reportedly visited by 75% of all young learners below the age of 25. Here, you can discuss your writing or academic challenges with your peers and ask for guidance and recommendations on overcoming them.
Writing Forums https://www.writingforums.org/ This forum dates back to 2006 and unites writes in all genres including academic writers. On this resource, you can learn a lot of professional tricks from experienced blog authors and users sharing their accumulated knowledge in this sphere.

 

 

Academic Phrasebanks

Academic writing is characterised by its unique style involving a choice of words and grammatical constructions. It may be difficult to get used to if you are just starting your career or if English is not your first language. The best solution to this challenge is the use of academic phrasebanks offering examples of specific phrases, constructions, and words used in academic writing. The list below offers some of the most comprehensive resources in this field that will get your style up to speed in no time.

 Resource  Link  Description
Manchester Phrasebank http://www.phrasebank.manchester.ac.uk/ This website offers phraseological examples for academic writers that are conveniently grouped in popular categories. This way, you can instantly find the phrases assisting a critical discussion or the ones allowing you to describe past events.
Ref-n-Write https://www.ref-n-write.com/trial/academic-phrasebank/ This resource offers more categories for writing about your research topic including the optimal phrase choices for Introduction, Literature Review, and Discussion sections in dissertations.

 

 

Educational Resources

Finally, some spheres of research may require specialised training or education in order to write with expertise and knowledge. While this approach may be more complex than the one utilised by most writers for copywriting purposes, it also provides better results in the long-term perspective if you are planning to develop professional skills and understanding in your area of interest. The following resources provide educational courses in multiple subjects with many of them offered free of charge.

 Resource  Link  Description
Coursera https://www.coursera.org/ Being one of the oldest educational websites in the online environment, Coursera offers hundreds of free courses that will allow you to gain expertise in almost any field and get confirming certificates proving it.
Khan Academy https://www.khanacademy.org/ Khan Academy was created as a non-profit enterprise right from the start, which means that you can get high-quality knowledge from professional educators completely free of charge. This educational platform is especially beneficial for students and writers studying science, mathematics, and other ‘hard’ scientific fields.
Open Culture http://www.openculture.com/ This resource offers a large collection of lectures, books, online courses, and free materials in various fields varying from anatomy to advanced computer science. While the list of offerings may be limited in some spheres, it may be a good start for exploring a new area of knowledge.

 

We hope that this comprehensive list of resources will assist your writing efforts and will allow you to achieve the results you seek. Some of these instruments may seem more or less convenient to use depending on your research style and preferences. Hence, we would suggest trying multiple tools before beginning your primary work to optimise your writing operations and make informed choices in this sphere.

Your choices may also depend upon your specific task and the required degree of professional expertise. As a beginning writer or an academic student, you can find Google Scholar and similar ‘basic’ resources perfectly sufficient for your needs. However, more complex endeavours such as PhD dissertation usually require more specialised tools for findings secondary sources to support your argumentation.

One of the key paths to success is to start writing early. The more time you have before that final submission, the better you are able to utilise the suggested resources to create a first-class assignment. If you are struggling with any of your University work, why not get in touch? Get professional essay help from expert UK writers.