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Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL): Handbooks, Encyclopedias, Reference Works

Finding Reference Works

Reference works are an important source for concept definitions, overview articles, and short bibliographies.  The Penn Libraries continues to acquire print and online reference works. These are accessible through Franklin Catalog. 

 Search example: Subject Heading Keyword : "second language acquisition" AND (handbook* OR encyclopedia* OR dictionar* OR bibliograph*)


Bibliographies + Lit Review Journals

Oxford Bibliographies Online

These databases provide articles that are annotated bibliographies on specific topics, describing good basic works, important or useful works, and controversial works - with notes about why they are useful. Similar articles may appear in more than one OBO subject collection, but each article will reflect that subject's focus. Includes hyperlinks, DOIs, and "Find this resource" PennText links for fulltext.

Literature Review Journals

These ejournals publish literature reviews and summaries of recent research.

Lit Reviews in Databases

Selected Encyclopedias + Dictionaries

Encyclopedia and dictionaries are great places to start research. Dictionaries will provide clear definitions and descriptions of a term or topic. A good encyclopedia article will outline major research theories and issues, and it describe consensus, controversy, and research fronts; it should also list important, classic, or controversial works that treat the article's topic.

Selected Handbooks

Handbooks are edited works, gathering chapters around a topic. A good handbook chapter will be journal article-length or longer, it will be more discursive than an encyclopedia article, and it will offer a rich bibliography for further reading.

Handbook Collections and Series

Selected Individual Handbooks and Guides to the Literature

These titles are merely examples of the many handbooks on applied linguistics available through the Penn Libraries.

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