Students are often asked to write essays, reports, and papers. The greatest research and reference source for tweens (ten to twelve years old) and teens is your neighborhood public library. And, reference and research librarians beat out any online search engines in helping your kids to find the right information they need. Because school libraries across our nation are under-funded and understaffed, your teen may go through your local school system without ever learning basic research techniques. If you find this to be the case, do not hesitate to speak to the reference librarian at your neighborhood library and ask them if they can show your teen how to find information using library resources. You may also want to inform your teen’s teachers of the situation so they can help your teen acquire the research skills he or she needs.

When the library is closed, information can also be obtained through computer Internet sources. Information and references found in a library have been chosen with care by educated professionals and a standard of accuracy is insured. Teens using the Internet should be made aware that there is no guarantee that information gathered from online sources is accurate or timely and should be digested with a good dose of healthy skepticism.

Plagiarism is increasing amongst our nation’s young people, made easier by the cut and paste ability of word processor editing. Make sure your teens know that stealing other people’s words is unethical and dishonest, and that their actions will have serious consequences.

Below are some online sources to help your teens research and write papers. Click on a category of sources or scroll down to read them all.

General Information on Writing and Research

Reference Book Sources

Book and Magazine Sources

Search Engines

General Information on Writing and Research

Teen Space/Internet Public Library

IPL is a great web source for teens. The section “Learning to Research” has a step-by-step guide to researching and writing papers, an “Info Search” to help them find information in cyberspace and in the library, and it also provides links to other great online sources for research and writing.

Reference Book Sources


Search dictionaries, thesauri, encyclopedias, familiar quotations, and usage manuals.

Internet Public Library/Reference

Includes standard general reference aids and a collection of links to almanacs, dictionaries, quotations, phone books, statistics, news, and biographies on the internet.

iSEEK Education

iSEEK Education is a targeted search engine for students, teachers, administrators, and caregivers that provides access to trusted resources from universities, government, and established noncommercial providers.


Links to reference sources on the Web, like dictionaries, almanacs, atlases, phone books, libraries.


Search dictionaries (including foreign language), thesauri, biographical sources, atlases, e-mail discussion groups, the Bible, stock quotes, and ticker symbols.

The Biographical Dictionary

Searchable biographical dictionary online.

Book and Magazine Sources

The Online Books Page

A database of links to over 16,000 books available in their entirety, searchable by author, title and subject. Also links to other databases of online books in English and specialty or foreign-language books.


Over 31,000 humanities texts, divided into various disciplines. Many of these are items published only online (section on new fiction), while others are actual books, plays, or poems previously published and have now been posted online (i.e., the 18th century studies section).

Search Engines



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Verizon’s is the Internet’s online directory information resource. Find Yellow and White Page listings fast online.

Sweet Search

SweetSearch is a Search Engine for Students that searches only the 35,000 websites that its staff of research experts and librarians and teachers have evaluated and approved.


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