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.
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|
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:
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:
|Returns results with all of your keywords||Returns results with any of your keywords|
Find Articles in Databases
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
If you need an article or book that we don't have, we can order it from another library through Interlibrary Loan.
Chicano/a Studies Librarian:
Ask A Librarian: Get help by text, e-mail, phone or in-person
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.
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:
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:
This video will explain more: