ESL Research Guide

A guide to library resources for ESL students.

Search Omni for Research Material

Use Omni to discover books available through the library, whether they're ebooks or physical.

  • Filters let you limit to "Available Online" (ebooks) or Available in Library (physical).

Omni even finds chapters within books.

Librarian Profile

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Allison Ridgway


The goal of taking English As A Second Language (ESL) at Trent is to acquire the reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills necessary to conduct university-level research. Through ESL courses, Trent students learn to read and comprehend material published in peer-reviewed journals, scholarly books, and other academic sources. 

As a Trent University student, you have access to our large collection of books/ebooks, journal articles, newspapers, documentaries and educational videos, and other academic resources. You can find and access these resources through Omni, Trent Library's easy-to-use search tool. You can find the Omni search bar at the top of the Library website, or click this link to find Omni.

This Research Guide gives you instructions and tips on how to use Omni to find research resources in Trent Library's collection (and beyond!). 

Have questions? Need help using the library for your research? You can book a research help appointment with a Trent librarian! To book a research help appointment, scroll down in this guide until you see a picture of your librarian. Under the picture, click "Schedule online." 

Getting Started

When you do your research, it's important to know where to look and what you will find there. You won't find everything in one place, so think about what you want to find.

Generally, there are three types of documents to look for.


Use Google or another internet search engine. 

  • Keep in mind: anyone can create a website. Is it scholarly, reliable, expert? Who created this site? Why?
    • See our tutorial on Evaluating Websites.
  • Learn about Google Scholar.


Search Omni, the library search tool.

Published Articles

Access to published articles is usually restricted to those who have paid - like your Library. Use Library databases to find them.

  • See the databases useful for ESL by selecting your ESL level on the left side menu.
  • See a list of databases for a subject area on a Subject Guide.
  • See a list of all our databases on the Databases A-Z page.
  • See the online tutorial for Finding Articles.

Think about the terms you are going to search for.

  • The computer looks for the letters - not the ideas!
  • The words you think of may not be the only way to express a topic.
  • Think about other words that might be useful.

We have a brief online tutorial that explains how to plan your search.

You need to do something with what you find.

Your choices depend on the database you use. Look for options to:

  • Save your results - to a stick, your own computer, or your H: drive or Google drive.
  • Print your results. Include the full text when possible.
  • Email your results. Include the full text when possible.

If you don't save your articles now, you might not be able to find them again!

If you're signed in to Omni, you can save individual items you find, or save your search, to "Favourites". They'll be there the next time you sign in. You can also grab a "permalink" to an item you find.

Many online resources are restricted - you can only enter them if you pay for access.

The Trent Library pays for Trent students to have access to many restricted sites, but you need to get there using the links on the Library website in order to be recognized as a Trent student.

Always start from the Library website when you do your research. 

Our links are customized to provde access to the Library's restricted resources.  When you click on one of these links from off-campus, you'll be asked to login using your myTrent username/password.