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ENG 585 — Second Language Acquisition

ATTENTION: This research guide was last modified on October 10, 2008, before the January 2012 redesign of the library's home page. Information on how to access journal articles, databases, and other library resources may be inaccurate or outdated.

For up-to-date instructions on accessing materials, please visit our tutorial pages instead.

Contact Information

Carol Dales


Borrowing Books

Locating Books by Using ToroFind Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC)

Finding ERIC

Logging in to databases while off campus

Recommended databases

How to do an article search in ERIC

How can I get fewer results (narrow my search)?

How can I get more results (expand my search)?

Viewing the Results of a Search

Interlibrary Loan

Can I Save, Print and / or Email Search Results?

How do I find an article in a specific journal?

Selected Internet Resources

Borrowing Books
  • To borrow books, take your CSUDH photo ID with a current sticker to the Library Circulation Department on the 2nd floor of the library.
  • Before borrowing books, read the regulations on the Circulation /Borrowing Books page.
  • Use the Library's ToroFind catalog to search for books by author, title or subject.In addition to finding materials available in the CSUDH Library, you will find links that enable you to request books directly from other libraries.
  • Here are links for other local libraries and libraries worldwide:

Locating Books by Using ToroFind Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC)

Locating Print and Electronic Books by Using
ToroFind Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC):

ü     Use keywords or Library of Congress Subject Headings to find books.on topics in second language acquisition.
ü      Click the "Advanced Search" screen in ToroFind and use that screen to combine title and author information or to combine concepts.

Here are a few representative Library of Congress Subject Headings:

    • Language and languages -- Study and teaching
    • Second language acquisition
    • Bilingual education and bilingualism
    • English language -- Acquisition


Many of your Torofind subject searches will lead you to electronic books such as these and many others: 

Finding ERIC

•  Go to the library web site at http://library.csudh.edu/ .

•  Under the grey bar: “Find Journal Articles Now”, click "Frequently Used Databases".

•  Move your cursor down to ERIC and click! You will go to the EBSCO page where you should click on ERIC  (you will also see a link to Academic Search Premier, a more general interdisciplinary database).

Logging in to databases while off campus
  • To use CSUDH databases while you're off campus, you must already have the most recent version of Adobe Acrobat Reader software installed on the computer you use. 
    Many articles are available only in
    .pdf (portable document format) format, and you need Adobe Acrobat Reader to read and/or print them. 
    Get a new Adobe Acrobat Reader free at 
  • If you are on campus, you can access any of our electronic databases and ebooks by clicking on the database name in the Database List; you will go immediately to the database.
  • If you are off campus, you will be prompted to log in using your username and password (the same information you use to log in to MyCSUDH, Blackboard and campus email). When you click on a database name while using an off-campus computer, you will see a blue authentication screen asking you for this information.
    After you enter your username and password, you will be able to access any of our electronic databases and ebooks just as you would on campus.

  • If you need further help logging in to CSUDH databases, click here.

Recommended databases
  • For an in-depth review of how to use databases to find journal articles, click here.
  • To limit your results to peer reviewed articles, look for the words "scholarly" and/or "peer reviewed" and place a check in the box beside these words.

    • ERIC: Educational Resource Information Center, provides access to education journal articles and miscellaneous resources; contains more than 1.3 million records with links to full text of many articles and links to over 323,000 full-text reports, reviews, lesson plans and other education-related documents.
    • PsycINFO: comprehensive database of the American Psychological Association; covers a wide range of topics in language learning such as emotional and behavioral aspects of language learning and psycholinguistics.
    • MLA International Bibliography: (indexed bibliographic records, no abstracts; occasional links to full text) of scholarly research in literature, language and linguistics from 1926 to date.  
    • JSTOR: indexing and full text of back issues of frequently used language and linguistics journals, e.g., International Journal of American Linguistics 1917-2003, Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 1983-2005, TESOL Quarterly 1967-2003.
    • Oxford English Dictionary: "the accepted authority on the evolution of the English language over the last millennium... traces the usage of words through 2.5 million quotations from a wide range of international English language sources, from classic literature and specialist periodicals to film scripts and cookery books".
    • Dissertations and Theses Database: Humanities & Social Sciences: citations, abstracts, 24 page previews, and full text of many newer theses) at over 1,000 grad schools and universities; (full text of recent CSUDH theses is in a separate database, CSUDH Digital Masters Theses).
    • Project MUSE: includes indexing and full text of almost 150 drama, language and literature journals published by Johns Hopkins U. Press.
    • Academic Search Premier: indexing, abstracts and high percentage of full text articles from journals in humanities, education, computer sciences, language and linguistics, arts & literature, and ethnic studies.

    • Humanities Full-Text: covers 1984 to date; includes indexing, abstracts and selected full text in linguistics; selected full text from 1995-date.

How to do an article search in ERIC
  • ERIC is not case sensitive.
  • Define your topic and write down the most important key word or words that describe your topic. Whenever possible, list synonyms for each word.
    The resulting words and /or phrases are your search terms.
    Example: Your topic is "English Language as second acquisition language in adult immigrants".
  • Type words or phrases into the database search boxes : e.g.: type second language on first line.

How can I get fewer results (narrow my search)?
  • Type another word or phrase into the search boxes on the second and/or third lines
      e.g.: English AND adult immigrants
    - Leave the small dropdown box(es) to the left of your search(es) set
    to AND
              Your search then becomes: 
              second language AND English and adult immigrants 
    - This strategy narrows your search (fewer results) because both words 
    or phrases you enter must be present in all results.
    Combine search terms with AND whenever a search contains multiple concepts.
  •  Limit your results, as needed, to a date range or to full text, or to
     particular language
    , by clicking in the boxes below your search
     (just below the green "Search Options" bar).

    Note: to limit your results to research articles in scholarly journals (for the "Previous Research" section of your Research Paper):
         --under "Search Options", scroll down to "Publication Type"

           and set it to read "Reports-Research".
  •  Choose an appropriate Field Code from the All Fields list on each line
     you use.
     e.g:, to search for the subject "language skill attrition", enter it in   the Find field, and select SU Descriptors
      You will then be searching only the Subject field of each record, and your results will be all be ABOUT the subject language skill attrition.
  •   Use the connector word NOT to
        exclude unwanted terms.
        NOT will narrow or limit your search (fewer results) because the 
        excluded word must not be present in results e.g., Saturn NOT automobile

How can I get more results (expand my search)?
  • Use a truncation symbol
  • Use a wild card symbol

e.g.: child* retrieves records with child, child's children, etc.

e.g.: wom?n retrieves woman or women


  • Add synonyms to your search with OR: e.g.:  histor* OR past OR archiv*  (type all related OR terms on one line)
    This broadens the search (more results) because any one
     (but possibly more than one, or all) of the words or phrases you specify may be present in results. 
  • Expand your search to include related words (synonyms and plurals), by checking the "Apply Related Words" box just below the green "Search Options" bar. 
  • Check your search terms for correct and alternate spellings and typos.
  • Reduce the number of concepts you are using, e.g. if you are searching for three concepts, try just searching for two.

Viewing the Results of a Search
After entering your search terms and parameters, click the Search button.
  •  The Result List will appear in table format listed by relevance.
     (Optional: you can also sort articles by date, most recent first or other criteria
      -see "Sort by" box, top RH of each Results page)
  •   (Optional) You can click on the Add to folder icon just below each result to collect all of the best results from searches for viewing/saving/printing in a folder.

§         Each record in the Result List shows search terms highlighted in bold italicized type. Here are possible options, at least one of which will usually be offered on the last line of each record:

  PDF Full Text or HTML Full Text or Linked Full text - links to Full Text articles in ERIC or in other EBSCO databases and electronic journals to which we subscribe.

2.  The red and white "Find it@CSUDH Lib" button appears after articles for which ERIC includes only a citation, in other words, full text is not included in the journal index!  However, full text MAY appear in hard copy somewhere in the Library OR in a completely different journal index. Click to find out!

. You may request dissertations and theses on Interlibrary Loan (if they are not already available through Digital Dissertations).

Interlibrary Loan


If the CSUDH Library does NOT own in any form a specific book or journal article you need, fill  out an online Interlibrary Loan request form!

    To request a book, use the online ILL book request form to submit an electronic request. 
   To request an article, you can either:

*   request an article directly when the message
Full Text of Article is NOT available in CSUDH Library
HERE to request item from another library

appears after you click the red and white "Find it @ CSUDH Lib" icon.


*   use the online ILL article request form to submit an electronic request.

Can I Save, Print and / or Email Search Results?


Can I Save, Print and / or Email Search Results?

You can print, e-mail and save most individual articles, abstracts, and folders by clicking the appropriate commands on the EBSCO screens.

   PDF article exceptions:

    •  to safely  email an article in .pdf format, open it, save it and e-mail it as an attachment or save it in a folder before emailing.
    •  save or print a .pdf article by clicking the appropriate icon closest to the open full text article (using the File/Save/Print menu usually will NOT work)

How do I find an article in a specific journal?
  • Click on "Citation Matcher" (in the blue toolbar that runs across the top of the ERIC screen) and enter information you have about the article into the boxes.
  • If  the "Citation Matcher" does not find the article, go to the Find a Specific Article tutorial page to locate other strategies for finding the article.



Selected Internet Resources


  • CARLA: Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition: based at the University of Minnesota, studies multilingualism and multiculturalism, develops knowledge of second language acquisition, and advances the quality of second language teaching, learning and assessment; includes a battery of second language proficiency assessments and a working paper series.

  • Center for Applied Linguistics: a private, non-profit organization of scholars and educators who use the findings of linguistics and related sciences in identifying and addressing language-related problems.

  • ILoveLanguages! : comprehensive catalog of language-related Internet resources; covers linguistics, online language lessons, translating dictionaries, software, etymology, and world languages.

  • Language, Learning & Technology: a refereed journal for foreign and second language educators (free and searchable online journal).

  • USC Center for Multilingual and Multicultural Research: research unit at the University of Southern California, facilitating the research collaboration, dissemination and professional development activities of faculty, students, and others across School of Education, university and outside organizational lines.

  • Google Scholar Advanced Search: good place to try out a concept or combination of keywords that turned up nothing in ERIC or other databases; gives you an idea of "what might be out there" on a topic you want to pursue.

  • APAStyle.org has free online excerpts from the latest edition of the APA Style Manual.

  • Purdue University Online Writing Lab maintains an excellent
    APA Formatting and Style Guide