English as a Second Language (ESLA)

Changes to Library services during the COVID-19 lockdown.

This subject guide will assist you in finding books, journal articles, and websites, as well as assist you in developing your research skills.

Step #1: Get background information from handbooks, encyclopedias, dictionaries.


  • Begin by defining exactly what you are searching for
  • Select the keywords/synonyms in your topic
  • Be specific when determining keywords/synonyms and terms to search
  • Use the advanced interface of electronic databases and Internet search engines to help narrow your search
  • Limit results in electronic databases to full-text or peer reviewed journals only
  • Use Boolean Operators to connect search terms 
  • Take notes during your research to keep track of where you have been, keywords searched, what worked and what didn't, etc.
  • Google search secrets [electronic resource] / Christa Burns and Michael P. Sauers.

Sources​ of Information

  • Publication Cycle: to find primary and secondary sources of information, use tertiary sources of information: dictionaries, encyclopedias, handbooks. When a researcher publishes material, they follow the cycle clockwise. To find primary and secondary sources, follow the cycle anti clockwise.

Reference Material

Step #2: Once your topic is narrowly defined, select databases to find specific articles that have been published in journals.

Suggested Journals

Suggested Databases

Step #3: Find books on your topic to gain greater depth and understanding.

Books and Serials on Language Acquisition are shelved at these locations in the Library of Congress system:

  • P118-118.75 
  • PE1001-1693 

We welcome your suggestions for books or other library materials you need for your study or research at Carleton.

Google Books >Language Acquisition

Recommended books:

Suggested Subject Headings

Step #4: Write down or store all the references you have consulted to include them in your bibliography of your research paper (e.g., Mendeley)

Writing Help

Spell checker

  • GrammarCheck: verify written text for grammatical correctness

Citation Management

There are many free citation/document management systems available. The library provides support in the use of some of these tools, but feel free to try any others on your own.

We provide support for:

Content last reviewed: July 10, 2019