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EDUC 153: Latinos and Education (SC): Get Started

Latinos and Education (Allard) Fall 2013

Research help is available!

question marksThis Research Guide will point you to databases, books, primary sources, and other resources that may be useful for your project.

As a librarian with 14 years of experience at Swarthmore, I've been through the research paper process and would be glad to help you navigate the resources that are available to you.  Please don't hesitate to contact me about an appointment or send questions via email (pharris1). 

Here are some of the things that I can help you with (other Swarthmore librarians can as well):

  • Finding information (scholarly articles and books, primary source documents, multimedia)
  • Searching specific databases
  • Improving your search skills
  • Citing sources and creating a bibliography (MLA, APA, etc)
  • Organizing your research (Endnote, Easybib Pro, Zotero)

Eightfold Path for Writing a Research Paper

  1. Start with a question you care about, but also one in which you have some relevant background knowledge.
    Your Education 153 project will be far more interesting if you pursue a question that you actually want to explore. That said, connecting your Educaton 153 project to previous coursework or reading will expand your opportunities to actually engage with the material rather than spending time getting up to speed on the basics.

  2. Get organized at the start (and save yourself headaches later)
    Consider choosing an organizational system for your research and notes and sticking with it for the duration of your project.  No one wants to dig around their room at 2 AM looking for an article, or look through folder after folder trying to find a PDF that isn't searchable.  A tool like Endnote, Zotero or Easybib Pro can help you stay organized by keeping research articles, citations, and notes all in one place.  Check out the Citation Research Guide for details.
  3. Use relevant bibliographies.
    Once you have found a good article or book on your topic, look at the references that author cites.  You'll probably find many sources that you can use.  The author(s) may cite primary source documents as well as scholarly books and articles.

  4. Search historically and bilingually.
    Spelling, word choice, and geographic names may have been different over the period of time you are researching.  You may need to use older spellings and terms to find relevant sources.Try searching for Puerto Rico, Puerto Ric*, or Puertorriqueños.

  5. Need background info? Try reference books.
    Print and online reference works can give you the basic historical context for your topic, and enable you to identify key participants, dates, events, and concepts.

    To find print and online reference materials, search for your topic in Tripod. Click on the "Books and More" results, then narrow the list to "Swarthmore Reference."  (view sample results here for Latinos AND education)

    You can also browse the reference collection in the appropriate call number range--P for linguistics, language and literature, R for medicince if you are studying a clinical aspect of linguistics or speech and BF for psychology. When you've found books on your topic in the general collection (books on the lower and upper levels of McCabe), you can also browse in the same call number range in the reference collection.

  6. See how often a particular article or author has been cited
    Citations provide one clue to an article or author's level of influence on their field. Use Web of Science's Social Sciences Citation Index to trace citations--just click on Cited Reference Search and search by author or title to find out how extensively someone/something has been cited. There's a similar "Cited Reference" option in Proquest Education Journals.

  7. Interlibrary loan can take some time - place your book requests soon.
    Find out more about Interlibrary Loan and place requests here.

  8. Know the difference between a selective and comprehensive literature review.
    Watch this brief video about literature reviews:

Subject Guide

Pam Harris's picture
Pam Harris
Have a question? Need a research appointment?

How to Write a Literature Review