This researcher sought to examine enablers and inhibitors to English language learner (ELL) students’ research process within the framework of Carol C. Kuhlthau’s Information Search Process (ISP). At a high school forty-eight ELL students in three classes, an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher, and a biology teacher participated in the study while the students conducted a research project in English. Data were collected through a demographic questionnaire, process surveys, interviews, and observations. The findings indicated that at the end of the research process more students reported difficulties looking for specific information, understanding hard vocabulary, evaluating (or selecting) information, summarizing, and writing
than they did in the middle stage of the research process. To develop a solid grasp of vocabulary and concepts about their topics, some students searched resources in their native languages first, but did not use the content of these resources in the final product. To overcome the addressed challenges, the students wished for someone who knew the project and the subject, prompt help in finding precise information and looking up vocabulary and pronunciation, more background knowledge on their topics, sufficient time to complete the project, and a sample research paper. This study provided instructional strategies the teachers used to teach ELL students, and included discussions about information behaviors of ELL students, instructional strategies to support ELLs, and research instruments.
The Catholic University of America