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ESL Level 6 - Spring 2021 - Molly Popchock: Library Research


Researching Language Learning and Related Topics

 greetings from different languages

Image Source: So You're An American, U.S. Department of State

Getting Help from a Librarian

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

SCC Librarians are available for in-person help at the Library Reference Desk Monday - Thursday 9:00 a.m. - noon.

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.)

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 Works Cited

  7. take notes from your sources

  8. create your presentation

Evaluating information and domain searching

WWW Test

  • Who is the author or organization responsible for the information?  Does the author or organization have expertise?
  • What is the nature of the information?  Is it objective (based on facts) or biased (based on opinion)?  Is it based on 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:

"endangered languages"

"language acquisition" babies brain

"language learning" adult brain

Finding Images and Videos

Google Image Search logo


YouTube logo

Recommended Sources and Searching Tips

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


Start your research by writing down search words that describe the elements of your topic.  For example, when researching language learning you might try using these words: 

  • language learning / language acquisition / language development / literacy
  • babies / newborn / children / adults
  • brain / neural connections
  • accent / pronunciation
  • miscommunication / communication and culture / intercultural communication
  • multilingualism / bilingualism / second language
  • dying languages / language death / endangered languages / language diversity / disappearing languages

Search example:  "language learning" AND adults AND brain


LIBRARY RESEARCH DATABASES - able to create MLA citations automatically

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


  • 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.


Periodicals - magazines, newspapers, scholarly journals

Cultures & Countries


Here's an example of a search in the ProQuest database:

A Sampling of eBooks and Articles

Some ebooks from the eBook Collection:

Brenzinger, Matthias. Language Diversity Endangered. De Gruyter Mouton, 2015. EBSCOhost,,shib&db=nlebk&AN=1819999&site=ehost-live&scope=site.,shib&db=nlebk&AN=1819999&site=ehost-live&scope=site


Roberts, Richard and Roger Kreuz. Becoming Fluent: How Cognitive Science Can Help Adults Learn a Foreign Language. The MIT Press, 2015. EBSCOhost,,shib&db=nlebk&AN=1059005&site=ehost-live&scope=site.,shib&db=nlebk&AN=1059005&site=ehost-live&scope=site


Sousa, David A. How the ELL Brain Learns. Corwin, 2011. EBSCOhost,,shib&db=nlebk&AN=527836&site=ehost-live&scope=site.,shib&db=nlebk&AN=527836&site=ehost-live&scope=site


Whitehead, Marian R. Developing Language and Literacy with Young Children. Vol. 3rd ed, SAGE Publications Ltd, 2007. EBSCOhost,,shib&db=nlebk&AN=268675&site=ehost-live&scope=site.,shib&db=nlebk&AN=268675&site=ehost-live&scope=site


Young-Scholten, Martha, and Julia Rogers Herschensohn. The Cambridge Handbook of Second Language Acquisition. Cambridge University Press, 2013. EBSCOhost,,shib&db=nlebk&AN=544992&site=ehost-live&scope=site.,shib&db=nlebk&AN=544992&site=ehost-live&scope=site

Some articles from ProQuest:

Shade, Martha. "Bilingualism is Good Medicine for the Brain." CNN Wire Service, Oct 23, 2020. ProQuest,

Skibba, Ramin. "Speaking Two Languages may Help the Aging Brain." The Washington Post, Dec 11, 2018. ProQuest,

 "Psychological Sciences; the Effect of Bilingualism on Brain Development from Early Childhood to Young Adulthood (Updated September 23, 2020)." Health & Medicine Week, Oct 09, 2020, pp. 7828. ProQuest,

MLA Citation Examples

YouTube video


McGonigal, Jane. “Gaming and Productivity.” YouTube, uploaded by Big Think, 3 July 2012,

Online image

Combine the citation elements in this way:

Creator’s Last name, First name. “Title or description of the digital image.” Title of the website, Publication date, URL.


Al-Rubaye, Ahmad. “The photo shows Iraqi schoolgirls in one of the many temporary schools built after the end of the war.” Mufta, 27 May 2013,


Researching Dying Languages

Search Tips

  • Try searching for these search words:

dying languages / language death / endangered languages / language diversity / disappearing languages

  • When searching in periodicals databases like Academic Search Complete and ProQuest limit to magazines (avoid using scholarly journals which use difficult English)


Sample encyclopedia article from Credo Reference:

Grenoble, L. A., and L. J. Whaley. "Endangered Languages." Concise Encyclopedia of Sociolinguistics, edited by Rajend Mesthrie, and R. E. Asher, Elsevier Science & Technology, 1st edition, 2001. Credo Reference, Accessed 17 May 2021.


Sample articles from Academic Search Complete:

Baines, Lawrence. “A Future of Fewer Words?” Futurist, vol. 46, no. 2, Mar. 2012, pp. 42–46. EBSCOhost,,shib&db=a9h&AN=71533789&site=ehost-live&scope=site.,shib&db=a9h&AN=71533789&site=ehost-live&scope=site

“A Loss For Words.” New Yorker, vol. 91, no. 6, Mar. 2015, pp. 32–1. EBSCOhost,,shib&db=a9h&AN=101859290&site=ehost-live&scope=site.,shib&db=a9h&AN=101859290&site=ehost-live&scope=site

Binion, Sydneyann, and David Shook. “Endangered Languages.” World Literature Today, vol. 81, no. 5, Sept. 2007, pp. 12–14. EBSCOhost,,shib&db=a9h&AN=26915372&site=ehost-live&scope=site.,shib&db=a9h&AN=26915372&site=ehost-live&scope=site

“Languages at Risk.” National Geographic, vol. 222, no. 1, July 2012, pp. 92–93. EBSCOhost,,shib&db=a9h&AN=77388862&site=ehost-live&scope=site.,shib&db=a9h&AN=77388862&site=ehost-live&scope=site

DeVere Wolsey, Thomas, et al. “Preserving Indigenous Language: Cultivating Home Languages in the Classroom.” Literacy Today (2411-7862), vol. 35, no. 4, Jan. 2018, pp. 46–47. EBSCOhost,,shib&db=a9h&AN=127358950&site=ehost-live&scope=site.,shib&db=a9h&AN=127358950&site=ehost-live&scope=site

Harrison, David. “Saving Endangered Languages.” New Scientist, vol. 229, no. 3059, Feb. 2016, p. 32. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1016/S0262-4079(16)30277-9.,shib&db=a9h&AN=112726768&site=ehost-live&scope=site


Sample articles from ProQuest:

Seo, Hannah. "Why Save Dying Languages?” Popular Science, vol. 292, no. 4, Winter, 2020, pp. 24. ProQuest,

Ostler, Nicholas. "Endangered Languages--Lost Worlds." Contemporary Review, vol. 279, no. 1631, 12, 2001, pp. 349-355. ProQuest,

Ostler, Nicholas. "A Loss for Words." Foreign Policy, no. 139, Nov, 2003, pp. 30-31. ProQuest,

Rymer, Russ. "Vanishing." National Geographic, vol. 222, no. 1, 07, 2012, pp. 60-63,65-71,73-80,82-87. ProQuest,

Schmid, Randolph E. "Researchers Raise Alarm for Endangered Languages: Five Global 'Hot Spots' Identified Where Native Dialects most at Risk." The Record, Sep 20, 2007, pp. A15. ProQuest,

Ostler, Rosemarie. "Disappearing Languages." Whole Earth, no. 100, Spring, 2000, pp. 6-8. ProQuest,

"Speak, Memory." The Economist, vol. 430, no. 9131, Feb 23, 2019, pp. 41. ProQuest,