CHS 381

Professor Estrada

Background Information

Getting some background information before you start researching will help you focus your topic and give you an idea of what to look for in your research. Here are some databases you can use to search encyclopedias and other reference sources to get a basic understanding of your topic.

Gale Virtual Reference Library: Over 100 encyclopedias, almanacs, and specialized reference sources.

Opposing Viewpoints in Context: Features viewpoint articles, and topic overviews on controversial topics.

Keyword Brainstorming

Before you start your research, brainstorm some broader, narrower and/or related keywords to help with your research. These keywords can come from your own knowledge of your topic or from searching background information.

My thesis: One of the prominent themes in Sandra Cisnero's "The House on Mango Street" is identity.

Main Keyword 1 Main Keyword 2 Main Keyword 3
chicana identity  
chicana feminism misogyny
chican* misogyn* discrimination

Note: Use an asterisk (*) to truncate your keyword. For example, searching for chican* will search for chicano, chicana, chicanos, chicanas, etc.

Find Articles in Databases

General/Multi-Subject Databases: These will bring back results from a number of disciplines
General OneFile
Academic Search Elite
ProQuest Newsstand

Subject Databases: These will bring back results from a specific discipline
Chicano Database: Search across library resources to find books, articles and more on Chicano/a Studies
JSTOR Latin American Studies: Scholarly articles on Latin American Studies, Language & Literature, and Feminist and Women's Studies
Literature Resource Center: Access to literary criticism, reviews and biographies of authors and poets 

Using AND & OR in a Database

Databases search a little differently than most search engines. Once you've brainstormed your keywords, you can use the words AND & OR to manipulate your search. Here is an example from the Academic Search Elite database:

Remember- AND narrows your search while OR broadens it. Think of it like a Venn Diagram:

Returns results with all of your keywords Returns results with any of your keywords


Get Help

Contact your librarians:

Isabelle Ramos

Chicano/a Studies Librarian:
Jennie Quiñónez-Skinner

Ask a Librarian: Get help via phone, text, chat or appointment

Writing Help

Citing Your Sources: Get help with MLA Style Citations

Annotated Bibliography: This explains what one is and how to do one. This video also explains:

The Writing Center: Make an appointment with a writing consultant to help with all stages of writing your paper.

Plagiarism Explained

Find Books, Articles and More Using the Library's OneSearch Tool

Visit the OneSearch FAQ to learn all about how to use the library's new online OneSearch tool to find articles, books and more. Or, watch the How to Use OneSearch video: