Student Success Blog For Educators


April 13, 2016

Academic Research Tips For ESL Student


To be an excellent academic researcher, you need to know what information you’re looking for, where to find it, and how to go about using it to prepare you for tests, papers, etc. ESL students often have a hard time with academic research because not only is the information new, but all of the resources are also new. It’s important for ESL students to gain strong academic research skills because they will be helpful as students continue to grow. This article will cover some basic tips to help ESL students improve their academic research skills. It will also introduce five online tools that can help with the research process.

  1. Identify Your Goals

Before you head to the library, crack open your computer, or sit down to review your notes, it’s important to define your goals. Are you going to do a basic review of the topics you need to know for a test? Are you going to read two chapters and take notes? Are you going to write a five-paragraph essay? Identifying this goal will help you stay focused throughout your study session.

  1. Set a Schedule

Once you know your goals, set a specific study schedule. It might be a time every day that you will review your notes or a three-hour block on a Saturday. Just be sure that you have a designated time to study and a plan on what to cove in the study session.

  1. Take Advantage of Online Tools

Here are five online tools that can help improve your study and writing habits.

    • Help.PlagTracker - When performing research, you’ll run into a lot of content that you want to replicate. As much as you try to put it into your own words, it’s possible that it will be considered plagiarized. PlagTracker will find instances of plagiarism in your essays and papers so you can rewrite them. They can rewrite them for you if you’d like.
    • Ninja EssaysNinja Essays is a great resource for writers who need some extra guidance. The team of writers can review your paper and offer insightful ways to improve the content or structure.
    • Idiom Connection - As an ESL student, you might be confused by some common English idioms (phrases). This website will explain what these phrases mean and how to incorporate them into conversations.
    • Citation Generator - Every research project you take on will eventually require you to create a “Works Cited” list. This is the list of books and resources you used when writing the research paper. You could spend hours manually creating the references, or you could type all the relevant data in Citation Generator and save yourself a lot of time.
    • 30 Most Common Grammar Mistakes - This list is pretty self-explanatory. It lists the 30 most common grammatical errors in the English language; even native speakers mess these up! Take some time to study the list so you won’t make the same mistakes when you write.
  1. Start With Wikipedia (But Don’t End There)

Wikipedia can be a great place to gain a lot of information on a topic quickly. If you’re not quite sure what you want to focus on, Wikipedia can give you some ideas. Just be sure to use this as a starting point and verify everything you learn. Wikipedia is not regulated, and anyone can post to the site, so the information is not always accurate.

  1. Use A Bibliography

You don’t have to find fifteen books or articles about your research topic. You only need to find one really great source and then search the book’s bibliography for other books to read. The bibliography is a list of all the books the author used when writing the book. So, if a book is perfectly aligned with your topic, the books in the bibliography should also be great resources for your academic research project.

  1. Make Sure The Sources Are Up To Date

As you perform your research, be sure to pay attention to the dates of publication of articles, books, and websites. If it’s a couple of year old, it’s probably ok to use (depending on your topic). But if it’s ten years old or older, skip it. The information could be outdated. And even if it’s not outdated, you’ll be able to find the same information in a more recent publication, and the source will be considered more valid. If you’re writing about anything medical, scientific, technological, or anything else that changes often, try to only use sources that are less than a year old.

Hopefully, this article has provided you with helpful tips and tools that you can use to improve your academic research skills. The next time you’re assigned a research project, follow these steps to achieve your maximum success! Good luck!

Guest blogger:

KenKenneth Waldman is a professional content writer with over 5 years of experience and also a Сopyreader at AskPetersen Reviews (read the latest RushMyEssay Review). His expertise includes education, marketing, freelancing. 

You can get in touch with him on Linkedin:



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