Google alerts are a great tool for
research, as you can set an alert so that Google searches the web on a regular
topic gathering hits on a topic of interest from a range of sources (including
news sources, videos and blogs).
*You can run a number of alerts concurrently, and revisit your Google Alerts account to modify/add/remove alerts.
From within your Google Alerts account, there is the further option to receive your Google Alerts in a feed reader. This means you can have the results of alerts web searches sent directly to your Google Reader account.