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Hispanic Heritage: Research

Research on Hispanic Heritage and Identity

Search Strategies

The MC Library has access to different kinds of search tools: 

  • RaptorSearch: Searches across most of the information that you can access through the MC Library. Find books, e-books, streaming audio and video, and DVDs and CDs as well as articles and other electronic resources from databases available through the library.
  • Databases: Collections of articles, videos, images, or other types of sources. Some databases cover a wide range of subject areas or source types (multidisciplinary), while other databases are discipline or format based (e.g., PsycINFO or AP Images).

Use the tabs in the box below to find suggested databases or other search tools to use for a variety of types of sources. 

MC students, faculty, and staff can access all of our search tools and online resources from on or off-campus.

Research Skills & Tips:

Unlike Google, library databases can't understand an entire sentence. You'll need to break your topic down into the most important ideas: the keywords.

Keywords are individual words or short phrases that represent the main ideas in your topic, thesis, or research question. 

Example Question: How has the magical realism movement in Latin America impacted world literature? 

Keywords: "magical realism", "Latin America", "world literature"

After you've identified your main ideas and some keywords to start with, think of additional search terms for each concept. These can be synonyms, related ideas, broader terms, or narrower terms. Since a database will match only what you type, using different terms for similar ideas can help you find more articles. 

Example Search Terms: 

  • "magical realism": myth, fantasy, fables, "speculative fiction"
  • "Latin America": Mexico, "Central American", "South America", Spanish
  • "world literature": writing, humanities, arts, "comparative literature"

Now that you have identified keywords, you will enter them in your chosen search tool's search box. Try more than one combination to find different sources.

Use the search operators AND & OR to combine your search terms. ​Use quotation marks to search for a specific phrase, with the words in that exact order: "social media" 

Use AND between your main ideas to narrow your search (all words will be found in each source): 
  • "magical realism" and "Latin America" and "world literature" 
  • "magical realism" and Mexico and writing
 

Venn diagram: space between "magical realism" and "world literature" highlighted.

Use OR to look for related search terms, in one search (at least one of the search words will be found in each source). This will increase the number of sources you find. Put related search terms in parentheses, and combine with other terms: 
  • "magical realism" and Mexico and (literature or writing)

Venn diagram: both circles are highlighted: literature and writing.

Research Skills & Tips:

Filter Results:

To make your results more manageable, use the database filters to limit your search results. For example:

  • Full-text access: To ensure that all items from your search results include the entire article or publication, select "full text" from filtering/refining options on the search results page.
  • Source types: If you know you only need peer-reviewed journal articles, select peer reviewed. Or, if you want to see only magazine articles, e-books, or another type of source, you can select only what you need. 
  • Publication date: If your sources must be from within the last five years, you can set the year of publication to reflect that. 

These options may be found in different locations of a database’s results page. In RaptorSearch, filter options are found on the left.

You can also set these options before you search from the Advanced Search screen in most databases. 

Sort Results:

Most database search results will be sorted by relevance. You can change this to sort by newest first, oldest first, etc. Look for the sort options near the top of the results list. 

More Research Tools

Library Research Guides

MC Library's research guides are built by MC librarians to help students use library resources for a wide variety of academic subjects. The research guides linked below may be helpful to you if you would like to learn more about Spanish language resources.

More Events and Special Topics Guides

Want to learn more? View our other events and special topics guides:

MC Library Events and Special Topics Guides