It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Latin American & Iberian Studies Subject Guide: Selecting a Topic
Tips to Develop a Research Question for Latin American and Iberan Studies Assignments
Things to consider when searching for Latin American and Iberian Studies topics:
Because Latin American and Iberian Studies is an inter- and multidisciplinary field that focuses in a particular region, the Americas (comprised of part of North America (U.S. and Mexico), South America, Central America, and the Caribbean) and the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal and its old colonies in the Americas and Asia), searching for articles require that you plan in advance your search strategy.
Determine which region, country, or city you want to focus your research: It is not the same to search for Latin America as a region than to search for a specific country like Argentina. Likewise, you will get different results if you search for Spain vs. searching for Madrid or Barcelona.
Focus on regions (Latin America/South America/Central America/Caribbean/Iberian Peninsula) to study phenomena that affect the region, e.g. globalization; corruption, neoliberal policies, human rights
Focus on one country or two countries when you want to understand how a phenomenon affects that country or if you want to compare how the phenomena compare between countries
Develop a research question from the subject area that you want to use to understand the region or country you selected, e.g. Political Sciences; Human Rights; Women's Studies, History
Create a list of synonyms on your topic: You can use your syllabus or textbook to find some preliminaries keywords. Pay attention to what phrases scholars used to describe the topic you are interested in. Research terminology change through time. Use those terms when searching any of our multidisciplinary or subject-specific databases, or you can search directly into journals that specialize in Latin American and Iberian Studies
Be aware that current topics (less than two years old) will have less academic, scholarly articles than older topics. If you want to find the most recent information about your topic, especially if it is connected with a real event such as social protests, natural and man-made disasters, human rights violations, etc. check any of our newspapers' databases.
If you are new to Latin American and Iberian Studies, I recommend checking encyclopedias and other reference sources to acquire some background information to help develop your research question. If you are studying a particular country or racial, indigenous, or ethnic group, you should look for books on specific topics, e.g. Macao, Brazil, Aymara, Mayan, etc. Also, check our Newspapers' Databases to learn more about current topics! If you need help, contact me!
The NACLA Report on the Americas is the oldest and most widely read progressive journal covering Latin America and its relationship with the United States. This is an excellent journal to learn about current issues happening in Latin America & the Caribbean as well as to explore the reporting of historical events since 1967.
Provides a comprehensive, multidisciplinary view of Latin American history and culture from prehistoric times to the present. Covers cultural issues and includes numerous biographical profiles of important figures in politics, letters and the arts.
Atlantic studies the interactions between the peoples and cultures on four continents (Africa, Europe, North America and South America) and many islands from the Canary Islands near Africa to the Caribbean islands and to Bermuda in the North Atlantic. Time period: between Columbus’ voyages to the New World in the late fifteenth century and the end of slavery in the Americas in the late nineteenth century.
Materials Indexed: Book Chapters; Books; Journal Articles; Primary Sources
This databases offers articles that focus specifically on Latin American Studies, which covers a vast range of disciplinary perspectives, including history, sociology, economics, anthropology, and political science. The resources also covers indigenous people from the Americas. The articles also include a bibliography that you can use to learn more about any given topic.
To understand current topics, it is highly recommended to read news articles to get a better understanding of a particular topic, e.g. immigration, globalization, social movements, etc. UCSB has access to most major journals in the US (both current and historical issues).
Date Coverage: varies
Materials Indexed: Newsletter Articles
The Hispanic Reading Room is the primary access point for research related to the Caribbean, Latin America, Spain and Portugal; the indigenous cultures of those areas; and peoples throughout the world historically influenced by Luso-Hispanic heritage, including Latinos in the U.S. and peoples of Portuguese or Spanish heritage in Africa, Asia, and Oceania. Visit the site to explore the many e-resources This is a good place to explore and read the many digital materials made available by the Library of Congress
Useful Tool to Develop your Topic
Concept mapping, is a way to visualize a topic possible dimension. It is a helpful tool to narrow down a very broad topic and develop keywords that you will use to search for articles on your topic. Watch the video below to learn how to use concept mapping to develop your research question and to brainstorm keywords that you can use when searching for articles and books in databases
Watch this video about Concept Mapping to become a Research Pro!
A helpful handout to show step by step how to create a concept map to map out a topic.
Below are some useful links and handouts that can help you develop your topic. Feel free to download and print the handouts in this page. Use them to develop keywords/search terms or to learn the best way to search databases to find articles and books for your research. If you have questions, don't hesitate to contact me.