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ESL Level 6 - Winter 2021 - Renee Kenney: Library Research

This guide will help students in Renee Kenney's ESL class find relevant library resources.


Researching Topics Related to Neuroplasticity, Time Management, Goal Setting, etc.

 brain illustration

Image Source: Clinical Diagnosis, Boston University

Steps in the Research Process

Is this your first time doing research?  Just follow these eight steps.

  1. make sure you understand the assignment

  2. clearly state your topic

  3. think about the search words you will use

  4. select the library research databases you will use

  5. search for and select your sources

  6. collect the citations for your MLA bibliography

  7. take notes from your sources

  8. create your presentation

Contacting Tim

Not finding what you need?

Feeling frustrated?

Having trouble using the library databases?

Then it’s probably time to a
sk a librarian for some help.

Tim Aman, SCC Librarian

If you need immediate help, contact a librarian any time using our online chat service.

24/7 live chatchat 

(Evenings and weekends you may be chatting with a librarian from another college. Ask for an SCC librarian to contact you for follow-up if needed.)

Recommended Sources and Searching Tips

The purpose of this research guide is to help students in Renee Kenney's ESL class find credible and academic information sources.  This guide will suggest useful sources, search techniques and evaluation methods for researching your topic.


When searching for information consider trying related words.  For example, when researching neuroplasticity you might try using these words: 

  • neuroplasticity, brain, brain plasticity
  • learning, memory, language learning, second language


  • Library databases have features to create MLA citations automatically.



Reference Books (including encyclopedias) - concise, general background information; articles often written by experts who are university professors

Periodicals - magazines, newspapers, scholarly journals

Cultures & Countries



  • eBook Collection - 150,000 ebooks selected for college and university researchers
    Don't worry about reading a whole book. Just look for small bits of information that you can use for your research.
      Here's a search example in the eBook Collection:


eBook Collection database search example

Evaluating information and domain searching

WWW Test - ask these questions when determining whether a source is reliable, especially when Googling.

  • Who's the author or organization responsible for the information?  Does the author or organization have expertise?
  • What's the nature of the information?  Is it objective (based on facts) or biased (based on opinion)?  Is it supported by careful research?
  • When was it written?  Is it appropriately up-to-date?

Domain Searching

Try limiting your Google search to a particular domain (such as .edu or .gov which are restricted domains). You may find more reliable information.  Here are a couple of search examples:

neuroplasticity and language learning

time management and college students