Literature Review Workshop for TESOL

| October 25, 2012

This virtual handout is a research guide accompanying the TESOL Literature Review Workshop presented to the Masters students in the TESOL program on Thursday, October 25th (taught by Anne Hays). The below resources provide a starting point for finding books and articles as well as an overview of resources available through the TC Gottesman Libraries.

Library Services and Publications

All students, faculty, and researchers also have access to a number of important library services and publications provided to support and facilitate research and study in their particular programs and disciplines.


Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) are the official subject terms prescribed by the Library of Congress for the cataloging of books and are in use in essentially all academic libraries. To find works pertaining to linguistic foundations of Teaching English as a Second Language and related subjects, it may be useful to use some of the subject terms, or combinations of terms, listed below when searching the online catalogs of libraries at Teachers College, Columbia University, and other institutions. To search by subject rather than by keyword, simply enter one of the below terms (or try your own) under “subject” under a basic or advanced search.

  • Biculturalism
  • Bilingualism
  • Code switching (Linguistics)
  • Cultural pluralism
  • Education, Bilingual
  • English language — Study and teaching — Foreign speakers
  • Language and languages — Study and teaching
  • Multicultural education
  • Multiculturalism
  • Multilingualism
  • Second language acquisition
  • Second language acquisition — Cross-cultural studies
  • Second language acquisition — Social aspects
  • Second language acquisition — Study and teaching

Call numbers:

  • P is linguisitics
  • P118-118.75 Language acquisition
  • PE is the English Language
  • PE1001-1693 Modern English (PE 1128 comes up a lot for L2)

EDUCAT – The most definitive record of the holdings of the Gottesman Libraries at Teachers College, including books, e-books, journals, e-journals, dissertations, media, and other specialized collections of all kinds.

CLIO – The union catalog of Columbia University Libraries (exclusive of the libraries of Teachers College, the Columbia Law School, and Jewish Theological Seminary), providing the most definitive record of individual libraries’ holdings of books, e-books, journals, e-journals, dissertations, media, and other specialized collections of all kinds.

See also Columbia University Libraries’ video tutorials on CLIO search protocols and other features and functions:

WorldCat – The union catalog of the contents of over 10,000 libraries worldwide, providing the means to do exhaustive searching by author, title, subject, and numerous other criteria and to find locations for specific items in libraries nearby and elsewhere.  Also freely accessible at


Journals —> Databases —> Federated Searching


Bilingual Research Journal

Bilingualism:  Language and Cognition

CALICO Journal

Chronicle of Higher Education

Educational Researcher

English Today

International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism

Journal of Latinos and Education

Language Arts

Language Learning and Technology

LEARNing Landscapes

Multicultural Education

Multiple Voices for Ethnically Diverse Exceptional Learners

TESOL Quarterly

Periodical Indexes (i.e. Databases)

Academic Search Premier – A multidisciplinary database providing full text for more than 4,600 journals, including nearly 3,900 peer-reviewed titles.  PDF backfiles to 1975 or further are available for well over one hundred journals.  See also Academic Search Complete (CU), a scholarly, multidisciplinary full-text database, with more than 8,500 full-text periodicals, including more than 7,300 peer-reviewed journals.  The database features PDF content going back as far as 1887.

Anthropological Index Online – The index  to  journals currently received by the Anthropology Library at the British Museum’s Centre for Anthropology.

Anthropology Plus – Provides worldwide indexing of journal articles, reports, commentaries, and edited works in the fields of social, cultural, physical, biological, and linguistic anthropology, ethnology, archaeology, folklore, material culture, and interdisciplinary studies.

AnthroSource – Covers current issues of the American Anthropology Association’s journals and bulletins, as well as archived issues of all of the AAA’ s journals, newsletters, and bulletins.

Communication Abstracts – A comprehensive source of information about communication-related publications on a world-wide scale. Containing over 244,000 records, Communication Abstracts covers major journals in communication, mass media, and other closely-related fields of study to create a research and reference resource that encompasses the breadth of communication discipline and depth encompasses the breadth of the communication discipline.

ERIC – Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education to provide extensive access to educational-related periodical literature, ERIC (which stands for Educational Resources Information Center) provides coverage of conferences, meetings, government documents, theses, dissertations, reports, audiovisual media, bibliographies, directories, books, and monographs.  In addition to this version, made available via the ProQuest platform, also accessible via the U.S. government ERIC site and through Ebsco ERIC.

Education Full Text – Provides comprehensive coverage of an international range of English-language periodicals, monographs, and yearbooks. Indexing coverage begins June 1983; abstracts are included beginning spring 1994; full text of some journals is available beginning in January 1996.

Education Index Retro – Provides cover-to-cover indexing for an international range of English-language periodicals and yearbooks; coverage from 1929 through mid-1983.

Education Research Complete – Provides indexing and abstracts for more than 2,100 journals, as well as full text for more than 1,200 journals, and includes full text for nearly 500 books and monographs.

HAPI Online – The Hispanic American Periodicals Index (HAPI) covers journal articles on Central America, South America, the Caribbean, Mexico, Brazil, and Hispanics/Latinos in the United States; currently provides over 60,000 links to the full text of articles appearing in more than 600 key social science and humanities journals published throughout the world.

Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts – Abstracts and indexes the international literature in linguistics and related disciplines in the language science, including phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics; coverage from 1973 to present.

MLA International Bibliography – Indexes critical materials on literature, languages, linguistics, and folklore; provides access to citations from worldwide publications, including periodicals, books, essay collections, working papers, proceedings, dissertations and bibliographies.  Now searchable via the Ebsco interface in addition to the ProQuest one.

Professional Development Collection – Designed for professional educators, this database provides a highly specialized collection of nearly 520 high-quality education journals, including more than 350 peer-reviewed titles. The database also contains more than 200 educational reports.

ProQuest – Provides broad multidisciplinary coverage of scholarly  journals, newspapers, dissertations, and other types of publications; for international coverage and access to full texts of dissertations only, search Digital Dissertations, a subset of ProQuest.

PsycINFO – Covers the scholarly literature in the psychological, social, behavioral, and health sciences.

SocINDEX with Full Text – Offers comprehensive coverage of sociology, encompassing all sub-disciplines and closely related areas of study.  The database contains full text for more than 860 journals dating back to 1908, more than 830 books and monographs, and over 16,800 conference papers.

Sociological Abstracts – Abstracts and indexes the international literature in sociology and related disciplines in the social and behavioral sciences, covering such major areas as culture and social structure, family and social welfare, history and theory of sociology, radical sociology, rural and urban sociology, and the sociology of the arts, business, and education.

Search Terms Within Databases

Searching by keyword will often quickly lead to productive results, however, it is useful to note that databases, like online book catalogs, also use subject headings (or descriptors). To search by subject you will need to locate the link to the database’s “thesaurus” or “subjects.” Once you’re here, simply enter terms and click search to locate the official authorized term in the thesaurus. Note too that articles are linked by subject terms or descriptors within the article itself. These terms will appear as links, which you can use to find other “like” articles. Specific search methods vary by database.

Subject Terms to try in Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts:

  • Acquisition of Second Language
  • Second Language Learning
  • English as a Second Language Teaching Methods
  • Classroom Communication
  • Language Maintenance
  • Cross Cultural Communication
  • [German] as a Second Language Learning

Subject Terms to try in ERIC:

  • Second Language Learning
  • English (second language)
  • Second Language Instruction
  • Instructional Effectiveness
  • Qualitative Research
  • Statistical Analysis
  • Action Research
  • Theory Practice Relationship
  • Low Achievement (or High Achievement)


  • L2
  • SLA

Federated Search Engines

Find Articles (via Columbia University Libraries) – To search multiple periodical indexes simultaneously within a variety of subjects and disciplinary subcategories.

Super Search (via Gottesman Libraries) – To search some or all of our periodical indexes, plus EDUCAT and CLIO, simultaneously for books, journal articles, reports, dissertations, etc.

Google Scholar – Provides the means to search for scholarly research across many disciplines and sources: articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions, from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities, and other web sites.

Encyclopedias and Dictionaries

Concise Encyclopedia of Sociolinguistics (2001) – Includes numerous rather extensive entries on topics within ten sections, dealing with (1) foundations of society and language; (2) language and interaction; (3) language variation:  style, situation, function; (4) language variation and change:  dialects and social groups; (5) language contact; (6) language, power, and inequality; (7) language planning, policy, practice; (8) language and education; (9) methods in sociolinguistics; and (10) the profession.  Also includes profiles of major sociolinguists.

Encyclopedia of Diversity in Education (2012) – With about 700 signed entries with cross-references and recommended readings, the Encyclopedia of Diversity in Education presents research and statistics, case studies, best practices, policies, and programs relating to diversity in U.S. education at pre- and postsecondary levels.

Encyclopedia of Education (2nd Edition) – The 2003 version of the classic resource in education and related fields.

Encyclopedia of Language and Education (2008) – The 2nd edition of this work offers recent developments essential to the field of language teaching and learning in the age of globalization, including new content on language socialization and the ecology of language, and special emphasis on multicultural and bilingual education.

Encyclopedia of Multicultural Education (1999) – Consists of more than 400 terms, phrases, concepts, U.S. Supreme Court decisions, significant contributors to the American macroculture from the country’s various racial and/or ethnic backgrounds, and key events and court cases related to multicultural education.

International Encyclopedia of Linguistics (2003) – Encompasses a wide range of topics in linguistics, including such areas as historical, comparative, formal, mathematical, functional, philosophical, and sociolinguistics, with special attention to interrelations within these branches of the field and to relations of linguistics with other disciplines.

International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences – This key reference work comprises 4,000 articles, commissioned by 52 Section Editors, and includes 90,000 bibliographic references as well as comprehensive name and subject indexes.


Bilingual Education and Bilingualism – A book series published by Multilingual Matters Publishers, of which 36 are available as e-books.

Ebrary – Online books across a range of subject areas; searchable, under All Subjects, by Education; Geography, Anthropology, Recreation; Language and Literature; Social Sciences, etc., and various sub-topics, and by author, title, and other criteria.

JSTOR – An online archive of over 1,200 leading scholarly journals across the humanities, social sciences, and sciences, as well as select monographs and other materials valuable for academic work.  Journals are always included from volume 1, issue 1 and include previous and related titles.  Tthe most recently published issues (the past 3-5 years) are generally not available through JSTOR, though they usually are through other e-sources.

Oxford Scholarship Online – Provides the full text of classic and newly published Oxford University Press books in linguistics, literature, neuroscience, psychology, and other disciplines.

SAGE Education Full-Text Collection – A subset of Sage Journals Online, provides access to and advanced searching of the full text of 36 education-related journals.

SAGE Psychology Full-Text Collection – Provides access to the full text of 34 psychology-related journals from SAGE Publications.

SAGE Sociology Full-Text Collection – A subset of Sage Journals Online, provides access to and advanced searching of the full text of 36 sociology-related journals.

Handbooks of Research

Handbooks of research are collections of articles on the most pressing issues in a given field, written by the top thinkers in the field. These collections intend to define the current thinking in the field at their time of publication. Published less often than journals, handbooks may be considered more definitive; essays in handbooks also explore broader topics than journal articles and tend to have extensive bibliographies (useful for literature reviews).

Print Resources

Bilingual Education:  A Reference Handbook (2002)

The Handbook of Applied Linguistics (2004)

The Handbook of Bilingualism (2004)

Handbook of Research on Multicultural Education (1st Edition, 1995)

Handbook of Research on Multicultural Education (2nd Edition, 2004)

Handbook of Research in Second Language Teaching and Learning (2011)

The Routledge International Companion to Multicultural Education (2009)


Blackwell Reference Online – Provides full-text access to reference works in the social sciences and humanities; see research handbooks and companions in Communication and Media StudiesCultural Studies, Linguistics, Literature, Psychology, Sociology, and other subject areas.  Notable titles in the Blackwell Handbooks in Linguistics series include A Companion to Linguistic AnthropologyThe Handbook of BilingualismThe Handbook of Educational Linguistics, The Handbook of Sociolinguistics, and many others.

Handbook of Research in Second Language Teaching and Learning – The electronic version of the 2005 edition of a key resource for research in second language acquisition, TESOL, and related fields in applied linguistics.

Handbook of Research on Teaching the English Language Arts – Sponsored by the International Reading Association and the National Council of Teachers of English, this electronic version of the second (2003) edition of the printed source offers an overview of recent trends in the study and teaching of English.

Reviews of Research

Reviews of research critically highlight the most important issues in the field in that year, and provide an overview and specific analysis of available research.

Annual Reviews – Reviews of topics in biomedical, physical, and social sciences published as annual journals; see series for Psychology, Sociology, and other disciplines; see in particular the Annual Review of Anthropology and Annual Review of Sociology.

Review of Educational Research – A publication of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), the RER publishes quarterly critical, integrative reviews of research literature bearing on education, including conceptualizations, interpretations, and syntheses of scholarly work.

Review of Research in Education A publication of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), the RRE provides an annual overview and descriptive analysis of selected topics of relevant research literature through critical and synthesizing essays. RRE promotes discussion and controversy about research problems in addition to pulling together and summarizing the work in a field.

Citation Indexes

Citation Indexes are especially useful to researchers conducting a literature review because they provide a handy digital roadmap to cited articles. Depending on the resource, one can search for articles cited within a given work (backwards) as well as later articles building on that work (forwards). Citation searches help locate prominent works on a topic.

Scopus – Abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature and quality web sources with smart tools to track, analyze, and visualize research.

Web of Science Comprising the Arts & Humanities Citation Index, the Social Sciences Citation Index, and the Science Citation Index Expanded, this database supports searching by topic, author, or publication name, and is also a major means for doing cited reference searching, to find articles that cite a person’s work.

Google Scholar – Within any given article one can click the “cited by” link and retrieve new search results based on works citing the original article. Works cited are listed at the end of each article.

See also our library’s Citation Indexes video tutorial on citation searching via the Web of Science and Google Scholar.

Digital Archives

Academic Commons – Columbia University’s online repository, where current faculty, students, and staff can deposit the results of their scholarly work and research.

PocketKnowledge – The social archive of Teachers College, including unpublished manuscripts and archives from the library’s collections, documents from other departments and administrative offices College-wide, and the work of TC students, faculty, and researchers.

Return to contents.

Bibliography and Citation Management Programs

EndNote, Refworks, and Zotero – Endnote, RefWorks, and Zotero all support retrieval and storage of references from bibliographic databases and the use of that information in formatting in-text citations, footnotes, endnotes, and bibliographies.   This page on the Columbia University Libraries website provides the most complete information available on downloading or connecting to these three packages and on getting access to online tutorials, tip sheets, and other options for help in learning and using the programs.  For direct access to pages on the individual systems, see the links below.

EndNote – This page provides the means to download EndNote, for Windows or Mac, for free, and it links to the EndNote manual and other resources useful for navigating and mastering the program.

RefWorks – By logging in via this page, you can connect to RefWorks, set up a RefWorks account, and find a tutorial and other help options.

Zotero – This link takes you to a page where you can download this free Firefox extension and find extensive documentation on its use, as well as information on groups and forums in which you may want to participate.

Library Services and Publications

Ask a Librarian a Question – To explore a variety of kinds of research support: enlist basic library assistance via our 24/7 online chat service; submit an email reference query to librarians onsite; request a research consultation with a Gottesman librarian; review frequently asked questions via the library’s Knowledge Database.

E-Reserves – Provides online access to digital course readings, including e-journal articles and book chapters, as well as call numbers for physical course reserves materials (books, DVDs, videos, etc.).

Document Delivery – Interlibrary services for the retrieval of content (books, book chapters, journal articles, etc.) not available through the Gottesman or Columbia University Libraries.

Learning at the Library – The Gottesman Libraries’ blog via the Pressible platform, including content in many topical areas contributed by library staff members.