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How To Do Research: Exploring Web Resources

An introductory guide on the research process for graduate students.

Exploring Web Resources

Web resources such as blogs and research alerts can provide you with current trends and research being conducted within your subject area. Try searching the Internet with keywords related to your subject area along with the following keywords:

  • trends
  • recent research
  • policy debates
  • controversial issues

Remember that web resources are typically not scholarly; although you can use web resources to help you learn more about the background of your subject area, you may not be able to use them as cited references in your academic research reports. See this checklist for information on evaluating web resources.


Blogs offer information on current events, trends, recent research, and more. Look for blogs that are written by experts in the field; these can help you identify recent studies and trends in that subject area. 

You can find blogs related to your subject area through an Internet search or here in the CSU Library. The Nexis Uni and ABI/INFORM Collection databases even offer the option to filter to blogs in the search results.


You can use alerts such as RSS (Really Simple Syndication) from websites, blogs, databases, and journals to obtain current news and information in your field of study. Subscribing to RSS feeds frees you from having to constantly check websites for current information; rather, you can have the content delivered directly to you via an RSS reader as it is reported or published.

An RSS reader is a program that will collect all of the feeds you have signed up for in one location. Many of them offer a free option. Examples of RSS Readers include Feedly, NewsBlur, and Inoreader. For most RSS readers, you will need to create an account. Once your account is created, follow directions on the site to find and add RSS feeds to your reader.

When browsing a web resource for information, look for symbols that say RSS, XML, Feed, etc. to add feeds.


Wikipedia can be helpful for finding background information on a topic and discovering related keywords to use in searches. An entry's cited references can even lead you to scholarly sources and help you explore your topic further. However, Wikipedia entries are NOT scholarly and should NEVER be cited as sources for your academic writing. Read the library's Wikipedia Statement for more information.


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Research Appointments

Click button to schedule a research appointment

The CSU librarians can support you during the research process with personalized reference services. We are happy to help you with the following tasks:

  • Accessing and using the CSU Library databases in order to create a peer-reviewed literature review with library resources
  • Using free personalized database folders within multiple database platforms to organize your research
  • Brainstorming keywords and recommending search limiters to use
  • Locating the dissertations and theses that may support and inform your research process