Weekly Web sites for the modern man

Meranda Watling


LexisNexis is great. Academic Search Premier is nice, too.

But what if you’re not on campus or can’t get the proxy to work when you’re trying to search online?

What if you want to draw from a wider range of scholarly literature when you’re working on your research paper, and you’ve made it to page 10 of the results without finding what you’re looking for? What if you want to see what else is available?

From the company that made its name a verb, Google Scholar, scholar.google.com, brings you information on just about any topic you can think of.

The sources include everything from peer-reviewed papers to books and articles in just about every discipline. All in one place.

No more trying to figure out which of the numerous databases will best help you find a source for your American Politics research paper. Just plug in your topic or a few key names in Google Scholar and you’ll at least have a good foundation to build the paper upon.


It’s no secret that not every section of a course is identical. Much of the difference between a good class and a bad class, an easy class and a diabolical one rests solely on the professor teaching it.

So, now that it’s time to schedule classes for spring, students are asking themselves two questions: What class should I take? And whose section should I sign up for?

Granted, much of the decision on which section a student chooses will rest on what fits his or her schedule best. However, when the option exists and students can use a little nudge in one direction or the other they can mosey on over to www.ratemyprofessors.com for some guidance.

The Web site allows other students to see how peers rate their professors. The ratings include short personal statements as well as rankings on easiness, helpfulness and clarity. Students also can help out other students by leaving their own rankings for professors they’ve had in the past.


Ever wonder what happens with the class evaluation forms filled out at the end of each semester?

The information is collected, but most students never see it or benefit from it when scheduling classes. However, one Web site does use this data to help students make informed decisions on what classes to take and with whom.

Much like the above Web site, www.pickaprof.com allows students to rank their professors and leave statements about the classes and instructors.

It also includes a detailed breakdown of the grades the professor has given in each section each semester as well as an at a glance look at where the professor’s student evaluations placed him or her.

The dual approach, both students opinion and the grade and evaluation data to back it up, make Pick-A-Prof a slightly less entertaining read but a more informed and balanced tool to use when deciding on classes to take.