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Spanish Courses & Research

LatinX in the US topics

Cast a wide net for sources: be diverse and adventurous

Your research in LatinX in the US topics can and should encompass both traditional sources, such as books and articles, and more contemporary sources, such as statistical data websites, organizational websites, and anything else that's relevant (sometimes even social media posts are relevant).

Keyword Search Tips

Keyword tip for searching everywhere: latin*

No matter where you search, using latin* (latin with an asterisk) will catch uses of Latino, LatinX, Latina, Latina/or, and any word that starts with "latin" but ends differently. This is what it looks like:

  • Screen shot of using the latin asterisk as a keyword

The search term "latino" or "latin*" will not find everything relevant in books

While searching for books, it's important to know that the official subject term for LatinX in the US is "Hispanic American," chosen decades ago by the Library of Congress and still in use. Using "hispanic american" as a keyword feels strange, but it will reveal more relevant results.

  • screen shot of hispanic american subject terms

Article Databases

Latin* plus your keywords should work well in the databases

The same databases used for traditional research projects can be used for LatinX topics, in addition to a couple more that are subject-specific depending on your focus (education, medical, etc).

Searching online: High expectations, plus some good statistics sites

Be flexible but also purposeful in searching online

Investigate a variety of sources in your online search results--go past the first page of results.

But also know ahead of time what type of source you'd like to find and add these suggested keywords in Google:

  • Primary documents: use "primary sources," museums, archives, and site:org
  • Organizations and advocacy groups: use site:org and double-check their credentials on Wikipedia
  • Government websites: use site:gov to find; look for them when you want government-gathered data
  • Polling and statistics websites: check the credentials on Wikipedia; Pew Research is the most credible

Good polling and government data websites to get you started:

Good news options for searching LatinX topics:

Evaluation: Three questions

What is it? Why do I care? What does it really say?

You answer these three questions every time you use a source, whether you know it or not.

  • Whether it is a website or a scholarly journal article...
  • Whether it is for a 1st-year course or real life...

Start noticing how you answer these questions to ensure your sources are really meeting your needs.


The Three Questions:

  • What is it: What is the source type and author credibility?
    • Quick Wikipedia checks are okay! You can also compare what other source say about that source.
  • Why do I care: Does the source type and author credibility meet your needs?
    • Decide this at the beginning so you know whether to read the material or find something better.
  • What does it really say: Perceive how the word choices influence the knowledge.
    • The author's word choices, included and excluded information, and the aim of the publication all make a difference in how or why you would use a source.

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