Joslin CHS 113

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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 search. Here are some Reference Databases you can use to get a basic understanding of your topic.

Gale Virtual Reference Library: Over 100 encyclopedias, almanacs, and other 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 topic: Latino immigration and the LGBT community.

Main Keyword 1 Main Keyword 2 Main Keyword 3
immigration latino gay
emigration latina lesbian
  chicano same-sex
  chicana GLBT


Using AND & OR in a Database

Databases search 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 General OneFile database:

Image showing a search in the General OneFile database using and and or in three search boxes. In the first box, it says "immigration or emigration". And is selected in the next drop-down menu. The second search box says "latino* or latina* or chican*". And is selected in the next drop-down menu. The third search box says "gay or lesbian or same-sex".

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

Copy and paste these related keywords for latino/a into your search:
latino* or latina* or "mexican american" or chican* or hispanic*

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

Venn diagram showing two overlapping circles with overlap highlighted Venn diagram showing two ovelapping circles where both circles are entirely highlighted
Returns results with all of your keywords Returns results with any of your keywords


Find Articles in Databases

General/Multi-Subject Databases: These will bring back results from different disciplines and sources
General OneFile
Academic Search Elite

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
America: History & Life: Articles as well as dissertations on the history and culture of the United States and Canada
Ethnic NewsWatch: Collection of the ethnic, minority, and native press

Chicana + Chiano Studies Databases and Course Guide

If you need an article or book that we don't have, we can order it from another library through Interlibrary Loan.

Get Help

Your instructors:
Anna Fidgeon

Laura Wimberley

Chicano/a Studies Librarian:
Jennie Quiñónez-Skinner

Ask A Librarian: Get help by text, e-mail, phone or in-person
Online How-To Guides and Tutorials

Writing Sources

Citing Your Sources: Get help with MLA Style Citations

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

Plagiarism Explained

Find Sources 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:

What is a Scholarly Article?

Unsure about what it means when an article is scholarly? This video will explain:

Evaluating Websites

If you are using a website as a source for your paper, make sure it is a reliable source. Don't know what that means? Ask yourself these questions to determine if the website is authoritative, unbiased, current, and accurate:

 Who is the author and what makes she or he qualified to write on this topic? Who is publishing/hosting this site and are they reputable? Unbiased: Does the author or publisher have a financial or ideological stake in presenting only certain facts? What is the purpose of this site? Current: When was this information published or last updated? Could there be newer information? Accurate: Where is the author getting his/her information from? Can you verify the information in another source?

This video will explain more: