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Google Research Tool for ideas, information, richer vocabulary and graphics to assist writers

Google Research Tool

Google Docs and Google Slides (aka Google Presentation) has a research tool where students can get ideas to assist them in their writing - particularly non-fiction writing as part of their studies.  This provides a great scaffold for those students who struggle with their writing, but also provides an in-house tool for everyone to use to gather images, videos, information, vocabulary (synonyms from the dictionary), quotes and citation references. You can also filter images and videos to meet copyright requirements.

To access the tool, click on the Tools menu and select Research.  This will open a pane on the right of the screen within the Google app.
Tools -> Research

Type in your search term and then you can select what format you are looking for.

  Search for

If selecting images you can also click on the small triangle arrow to filter these for ones that meet creative commons attribution.
Filter images cc  

With videos you can see the attribution below the video once embedded.

Once you have selected your image simply drag and drop it onto your slide.  For videos click Insert.  Your media will now load on to your Google slide.  To play the video while in construction mode just double click the movie camera icon.  Note that videos will still have any advertising attached.
Media embedded

You can also use the Dictionary to search for more interesting vocabulary such as synonyms, or use the Everything category to get information that you can use to enrich your writing as well as the vocabulary.

Dictionary Everything for Information

The Research Tool is also available through the Tools menu in Google Docs though you can only search for videos by adding "Youtube video" to your search term within the Everything category. All else works the same as for Google Slides.

Video search in GDocs


  • Kate Crawford

    Thanks for sharing, will definately try this.

  • Alana Madgwick

    Looks fantastic- Can't wait to give it a try- thanks for sharing and outlining the process.


    This looks great and i can see it helping many of my learners that lose their train of thought between screens. I am wondering if there is another presentation tool in google or compatable for items such as brochres or posters as power point is only one of the mediums i like the students to use.

  • Chris Meehan

    I have just recently downloaded and used the free app LucidPress. I made myself a brochure as a CV actually and it was so easy to work with, as well as being most enjoyable. It is free with plenty of different templates for a range of purposes. 

    Prezi is another excellent tool which is a next step on from the simple powerpoint type presentation. 

  • Jill Hammonds

    Hi Chris,

    This looks like a good app.  Thanks for posting as this feeds the content of these pages.  The free version is great for getting started.  It doesn't provide all the templates so here are the prices for anyone interested in taking it further:

    Lucid Press costs

    When I have looked at it further and had a play I will add a section on the app and its uses.  However, the important thing about Google Presentation is the research tool that enables students to find information, additional vocabulary as well as pictures and videos that when used well, will improve the richness and quality of the writing.  Lucid Press looks great for format and ease of use once students have done some pwerful writing, so using the Google research tool to compile writing and then Lucid Press as the app into which to easily paste and layout that writing would seem a good process.