45 Websites for Writers and Researchers
By Joan Whetzel
While researching information for the stories, papers, and articles I have written over the years, I have run across numerous helpful websites. These sites,can be valuable resources for professional and student writers, for classroom use by educators, and for researchers looking for background information when writing up their research.
1. Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL)
The Purdue University Writing Lab contains a collection of resources that include instructional materials for writing and the writing process. The site, while primarily set up for Purdue University students and faculty, can be used by anyone writing in the English language. It allows free access worldwide and is easy to navigate.
2. Merriam Webster Online
The Merriam Webster online dictionary reads like the print version. Instead of having to wade through a whole page's of entries,, it provides only the definition for the word or phrase typed into the search box. This site has a thesaurus and encyclopedia available as well as a medical dictionary, a Spanish-English dictionary, a word game tab, and tabs for new words and slang terms.
3.Roget's Thesaurus Alphabetical Index at Thesaurus.com
While not being as comprehensive as the print version, this web copy of Roget's Thesaurus is helpful in finding many synonyms and antonyms for commonly used words and phrases. It is also easy to navigate.
This site includes free access to encyclopedias, dictionaries, thesauri and several reference books. It is also a good site for locating quotes from famous people.
5. Publishing Law Center
Publishing Law Center supplies legal information for writing and publishing, as well as the business end of writing and publishing. Information on licenses, trademark law, copyright law, contracts, and intellectual property are all covered.
6. George Mason University's Nonfiction Universe
Nonfiction Universe provides links to a host of resources and online publications in academic writing and all genres of nonfiction writing.
7. US Copyright Office
This site covers all aspects of copyrights, copyright law, copyright records, licensing, registration, filing for copyrights, patents and trades, royalties and anything else related to copyrights and protecting your intellectual property.
8. The Chicago Manual of Style
The online version of this manual is by yearly subscription, for a fee of course. The downside is the cost, the upside is that the information is always up to date and accurate, and you don't have to lug the book around with you.
9. American Psychological Association (APA) Style Manual
This sites supplies the basics of APA format, which is great for many points. However, if you need more detailed information, you'll have to look it up elsewhere or buy the print version.
10. Modern Language Association (MLA) Style Book
The online handbook is available by registering online. The form to fill in for this asks either for an activation code (I haven't been able to figure out where to get this) or by becoming a member of the MLA, which gives the writer access to all the other benefits given to members of the Modern Language Association.
11. Guide to Grammar and Writing
This website, operated by the Capital Community College Foundation, offers help with word choice, sentence structure, grammatical errors and correction, paragraph structure, researching and writing of essays and other papers, among other things. Great resource for the writing process.
12. Associated Press (AP)
AP provides some information for journalists and a lot of up to date news articles written by AP writers around the world. These articles, which are frequently picked up by newspapers and broadcasters worldwide can be used as background information for informative articles and essays. This is a great research site for writers interested in timely topics and recent events
13. Bib Me
This site helps writers and researchers create a bibliography in any format either by looking up the information for some books, articles, websites and films, or by filling in the information and letting the site set up the entries in correct format.
14. The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation
This site provides help and instruction for the rules of proper English usage in the following area: grammar, punctuation, capitalization, spelling, vocabulary, words that are commonly confused )to, too, two, there, their, they're), and writing out numbers.
15. Essay Writing Center
This site offers rules, ideas, and instruction for writing any kind essay ever assigned by teachers, from 5-paragarph essays to scholarship essays, and everything in between.
16. Writing Term Papers
This site covers all types of academic and research writing at all skill levels. It includes links to writing guides, research guides, and links to additional research resources.
17. Society for Professional Journalism (SPJ)
This site covers resources, training, and legal issues for journalists - much of which can apply to writers in just about any market or genre.
18. SPJ Code of Ethics
These are a good set of ethics for any writer to apply to their writing career.
Library and General Reference Websites
19. American Fact Finder
Look up US demographic information here. Great for any kind of research where demographics in the US might be important.
20. Library Thing
Here is a site where book lovers can upload a catalog of all the books on their shelves. They can then get involved in book discussions with other members of the site and find people with similar reading interests. Or find suggestions for new reading material that you hadn't considered before. Reading is, after all the basis for wanting to write in the first place. One of the best ways to become a good writer is to be a good reader.
21. Ref Desk
This site refers to itself as the "fact checker for the internet." It has links to all kinds of search engines and websites for double checking your facts, or finding facts that you may be having trouble locating. It's set up something like a virtual library help desk.
22. Library of Congress
This site boasts "Access to print, pictorial and audio-visual collections and other digital services" as well as access to just about every type of library resource in digital format.
Math and Science Websites
Check out all the public access pages on this site. You could literally get lost on this site for months without reading the same information twice. Includes the Johnson Space Center, the Kennedy Space Center, and the Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) sites. Find information on any of the sciences related to space and space flight, including: solar system astronomy (i.e. solar flares), deep space astronomy, Hubble Telescope and other observatories, weather on Earth, rocket science, astronauts and astronaut training….
24. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
This is another one of those sites you could get lost in for quite awhile. It covers anything about weather and geology, as it relates to weather.
25. United States Geological Survey (USGS)
This site covers anything geology: rocks and minerals, earthquakes, volcanoes, climate, geological landforms and features.
26. The Weather Channel
The weather channel gives the national weather on their website, as well as maps, top notch photos (either regular camera photos or satellite images) of weather events, as well as having a number of videos that are accessible online. Great resources for any writer or researcher.
27. National Geographic Maps
Get satellite images of any place on earth. Zoom in or out to get the image you want. Purchase copies of any of National Geographic maps in print, put together an atlas puzzle online, or explore their online atlas. Super site for maps and geography resources.
28. The Math Forum @ Drexel University
This site has resources for math students and math teachers alike. Anyone who has an interest in math, and those of us who don't quite get it, can find plenty of math resources here.
Geography, Social Studies and History Websites
29. Internet4Classrooms - Geography Websites
This site provides links to all sorts of resources related to geography: maps, landforms, countries and continents….
30. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) World Fact Book
This site is something like an almanac of sorts. The CIA World Fact Book supplies the following information on over 267 countries around the world: history, people, government, economy, geography, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues.
31. Countries and their Cultures
This site provides information on the world's cultures, listing the countries alphabetically.
32.History, Arts and Culture
Investigate art and architecture, culture and ethnic groups, history, libraries, and museums in the US.
33. Best History Websites
This site provides links to history websites, broken down by types of history: prehistory, ancient biblical, medieval, American, early modern European, modern history, World War II, military history, art history, oral history, and general history. If you're looking to research historical information for your writing, start here.
34.History World - Histories and Timelines
This is another site for looking up historical information, and it includes timelines.
35. USA.gov - The Government Official Web Portal
This site has links to the various government agencies and all kinds of information on the US government by topic.
Commerce and Trade
36. US Department of Commerce
This site has links to all kinds of information on trade, commerce and the economy, from the US standpoint.
37. International Trade Administration
This site covers trade, commerce and the economy from an international standpoint.
38. World Trade Organization (WTO)
The World Trade Organization is an organization of countries that regulates international trade and commerce. Check out this site to find out the rules governing world trade and how the WTO works
39.North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
What the WTO is to the economy and world trade, NATO is to the world's politics and military alliance. This site is a great resource for information in international politics.
40.United Nations (UN)
The United Nations is more of an humanitarian organization that fights for human rights. For humanitarian and human rights issues, check out this site's resources.
Policing and Security Agencies
Interpol is the international policing agency that investigates crime on an international level. This site talks all about Interpol, who they are, how they operate, and what they do exactly.
The CIA site performs international investigates, intelligence, and security for the US. There are several links to sites about intelligences that may be of interest to writers and researches. There's a link under the library tab that covers FOI (Freedom of Information), especially as it pertains to CIA documents.
Where the CIA operates on an international level, the FBI operates on an national level investigating crimes and gathering intelligence within US borders. Locate information here on crime statistics, investigative techniques, the Most Wanted List, lab services, background checks - just about anything of a policing agency and its investigative efforts at the national level.
44. Department of Homeland Security
This site covers everything about national security, keeping our borders safe. Worth the trip if you need to do research in this area.
This probably doesn't belong under security and policing agencies One could argue, perhaps, that Wikileakst acts sort of like a media version of a policing agency, aiming to keep the government in check, to keep the government from overstepping its boundaries, and to keep freedom of the press alive - one of the mainstays of our Constitution - even if it means reporting on things that the government doesn't think the general public needs to know about. One the other hand, one could also argue that Wikileaks oversteps its boundaries in reporting stories that could produce potential security risks or provide information to potential enemies of the US.
As such, this site could definitely be considered an iffy proposition for writers and researchers. When using this site, writers or researchers should decide for themselves what information to use, how much of it to use, and when to use it. Investigate the information thoroughly for yourself before using it to see if you can locate the information on your own. The information on the site is worth checking out, but be careful how you use it.
EduChoices. 50 of the Best Websites for Writers. Downloadee1/2012.
EduChoices. 25 Websites for Student Researchers and News Hounds. Downloaded 1/2012.
Education Insider. 25 Legitimately Useful Sites for College Students. Downloaded 1/2012.
Klems, Brian A. Writer's Digest Online. "101 Best Websites for Writers." Downloaded 1/2012.
Sylvan Learning Centers. Top 10 Math Websites. Downloaded 1/ 2012.
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