Best Free Essay Databases for College Students

Homework is an integral part of student life and though we often feel so reluctant to deal with it, we always end up in front of our computer, scouring the Internet for ideas and trustworthy sources that can be used in the writing process. Though the quality of any academic paper depends on various factors, reliable sources, which can not only help us backup our judgments and arguments, but also provide us with useful ideas, are a main component of our paper’s success. It’s a rare learner who relies mostly on printed books for researching a certain problem or exploring an assigned topic. In the Digital Age, the vast majority of learners take advantage of online scholarly databases that provide them with credible, peer-reviewed, and up-to-date information that can come in handy when working on an academic paper. Lots of higher educational institutions grant their students free access to such databases. Still, some databases are paid and their subscription fee may prove to be too high. That’s when free scholarly databases may come in useful. 

Should you experience difficulty finding useful information for your essay, be sure to check out our list of free databases we’ve put together to help you craft strong and effective paper.  


You can hardly find a student who has never heard of BASE, which is a free online scholarly database whose name undoubtedly speaks for itself. It boasts almost 140 million documents from a wide range of academic sources. Courtesy of the Bielefeld University Library, you can access almost 60% of all available sources free of charge. The Library also reserves the right to remove any sources from the open access list. So, to access some specific sources, you’ll need to get a subscription. 


The Bartleby essay database is a relatively new online resource that has already garnered praise from millions of students worldwide. Using scholarly source is great. Still, students can also benefit from familiarizing themselves with other students’ academic papers. Don’t get us wrong, we don’t condone and in no way encourage plagiarizing. Checking out some strong essays, research papers, literary analyses, literature reviews, and other types of academic papers can help you figure out how to properly cite sources, support claims, present ideas, and structure your paper. Moreover, it’s not a secret that writers draw inspiration from other writers’ works. So why not do the same? 


Another database worth your attention is the Edusson free essay database. Similarly to Bartleby, it offers a vast collection of essays and research papers that can help a lot with your assignment. You can find tons of essays on a variety of topics such as the civil rights movement, global warming, the cold war, police brutality, gender equality, and others. You’ll also find useful articles that will help you improve your writing and explain in detail how to conduct research for each particular type of academic paper. 

The Digital Commons Network 

If you’re looking for a truly reliable and trustworthy scholarly database, you can take advantage of the Digital Common Network. It’s a free online database that brings together full-text peer-reviewed research articles, journals, theses, conference proceedings, documents, and books from various higher educational institutions from all corners of the world. Hundreds of new sources replenish the Network’s collection on a daily basis. And university librarians take care to review each new source and check it for validity, accuracy, and credibility. Therefore, you can rest assured that you’ll be using only high-quality scholarly articles once you opt for the Digital Commons Network. 

Google Scholar 

Our list of the best online scholarly databases would be incomplete if we didn’t mention Google Scholar on it. Google Scholar is arguably one of the most popular and trusted online resources millions of students rely on. Its engine searches multitudes of academic publishers, court opinions, abstracts, university libraries, state archives, and professional societies to provide you with credible, up-to-date articles and other pieces of scholarly literature that you can safely use and cite in your academic papers. Still, keep in mind that not all sources you find via Google Scholar can be accessed freely. Reading some full-text articles may require a subscription. 

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.