A quick list of six sites that I’ve found most useful in researching various topics:
This list is not definitive, and depending upon the topic you are researching, there are numerous other sites that will focus your efforts and deal with the topic more comprehensively. But this is a fine place to start.
IMPORTANT: Alumni status at your alma mater is also a long forgotten resource by many. Pay sites which cost hundreds of dollars per year are frequently made available to alumni through their university website for FREE. Check with your school and take advantage of the valuable status you hold. Those thousands of dollars spent on your education might just be valuable to you in more ways than one (I still had access to the pricey Lexis-Nexus site through the portal of a college at which I only took 1 course – Lexis-Nexus charges c. $3 per article using their “ala carte” service…not cheap; I hope this was not an error and is actually the operating standard).
UPDATE [02.15.06]: Here’s a link to a useful article on Lifehacker.com. It’s called: Get the most of your local library — online