ESL Resources
State Capacity Building

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Do you have a question?

Adult ESL Resource Database Selection Criteria

The CAELA adult ESL database provides bibliographic references (with links to the full text whenever possible) to documents useful to adult ESL practitioners. The collection exists with the following primary audience in mind, those who assist adults learning English: Practitioners—and those who train or educate them; researchers; program administrators; and state-level people (policymakers).



The materials included must address CAELA’s primary audience, namely, practitioners—and those who train or educate them; teachers , researchers; program administrators, and state-level people government people who help adults learning English.


Populations and settings

Information about the populations concerned (literacy-level English as a second language learners from late teenage years through adulthood) and those who teach them, train them, interact with them, provide services to them). Although the populations are mostly in non-postsecondary education settings, such as workplace literacy programs, or community-based and adult education programs, there are some studies that focus on Intensive English Programs or higher-level ESL learners for whom literacy issues continue to affect their education. This reflects an attempt to go beyond the limited amount of research done to date on the primary population and in these primary settings.



The collection seeks to accumulate seminal documents dealing with such areas as adult education; statistical description and analysis of the current situation; promising programs and evidence of what works for the adult ESL population (both here in the USA and in countries dealing with similar issues); curricula, program standards, teaching guides for both the adult ESL population and the teachers/teacher trainers engaged with this population.


Document types

Research, as found in, for example, dissertations, books, case studies, peer-reviewed scholarly journal articles, research reports, government and NGO reports and policy papers, theses and dissertations; conference or symposium papers, etc. Research reports are further categorized by type (case studies, experimental, practitioner research, qualitative research). Reference materials may include statistics, surveys of the populations concerned; curricula; directories; bibliographies and literature reviews. This category could also include information analyses and briefs or summaries.



Evidence-based studies of methods that meet program goals or qualify as promising practices for literacy level adults. This includes guides and materials for both classroom and non-classroom use.

Preference goes to materials that demonstrate rigorous methodology relying on accepted methods in social science research and serious, substantive bibliographic background or supporting work.


The collection intends to bring together studies that use experimental or quasi-experimental methodologies based on valid comparisons between groups (with statistical tests for significance); non-experimental methods that provide evidence when little or no experimental data exist; and qualitative methods (descriptive and practitioner research) based on a sound analytical framework.