You can use RSS for research much the same way you would for websites. Several research databases provide ways to create alerts, or RSS feeds, for specific searches.
For example, if you are doing research on human rights in China, you can set up a alert so that every time an article is added to that database that meets your search criteria, you are notified.This saves you from having to continously redo your search to locate the most recent additions.
Links to articles and resources discussing the use of RSS in education.
Feed for All: Academia Adds RSS Feeds to Their Teaching Tool Kit
HigherEd BlogCon: Using RSS to Increase User Awareness of e-resources in Academic Libraries
Flair & Square: The Power of Using RSS Feeds in Education
Will Richardson, www.weblogg-ed.com: RSS: A Quick Start Guide for Educators