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SPA 151 — Introduction to Hispanic Culture



Caroline Bordinaro


Concepts and Questions for Beginning Research

Country Information

Finding Books in the Library

Statistical and other Internet Resouces for International Information

Journal & Newspaper Articles

Finding Quality Websites

Plagiarism and Citing Sources

Library Guides (.DOC format)

Concepts and Questions for Beginning Research
  • Where to Start?
    • What's your research question? What information do you need to find? Write it as a sentence.
      • Separate out the keywords unique to your topic and use those to search.
    • Who cares about the same information? (e.g.: researchers, professional associations, government, etc.)
      • What information do they need? Where would they get it?
  • What resource are you currently using? Why is it important to know?
      • Is there a better tool for the job?
      • Are you using it in the most efficient/effective way?
  • Types of information available
      • Books, articles from journals, magazines and newspapers, websites
      • Newsletters
      • Reports
  • Terms you need to know before searching for articles
    • CONTROLLED VOCABULARY : Also called subject headings or descriptors. Official terms used to classify items in a database.
    • THESAURUS: List and finding aid for official controlled vocabulary terms. Also called Subject List.
    • ONLINE JOURNAL INDEX: A database that contains magazine, newspaper and journal articles e.g: PsycINFO.
    • JOURNAL (also SCHOLARLY JOURNAL): Scholarly publication, articles usually reviewed by experts in the field before publication; published for an academic audience; narrow focus; deeply researched e.g.; American Journal of Psychology
    • ABSTRACT: a brief summary of the main content of an article
    • FULL TEXT: the complete article. Click on the FindItCSUDH button to see if the Full Text is available.
    • CITATION: the basic information you need to find the full text of an article. Includes article title, author, publication, date, volume/issue and pages.
  • Search Concepts
    • Boolean operators
      • 1. AND: Adidas AND marketing
        2. OR: Adidas OR Nike
        3. NOT: Adidas NOT shoes
    • Phrase searching"" ( "Nike Sportswear of America")
    • Advanced Search: Use this frequently to determine your search options. This will save you TIME and FRUSTRATION!
    • If you can't find anything: don't freak out and go to Google! Ask a reference librarian for help

Rules and advice

  • Find index descriptors attached to useful article citations- redo your search with these "Official Database Topic Terms"
  • Always use the E-Mail, Print and Save functions embedded within the database window. It is usually not a good idea to use the File-Print or File-Save As functions in the upper left hand corner of the browser.
  • All databases function essentially the same way and have similar features.

Country Information

University Library

  • Europa World Year Book [Ref JN1 .E85]
  • EIU Country Commerce series : In looseleaf binders, one for every country [Ref HG4538 C68]
  • Statesman's Year-Book [Ref JA51.S7]

Internet Resources:

  • CIA World Factbook contains statistical summary on countries. Two links on this web site of interest for this course are: "Guide to Country Profiles" and "Guide to Rank Order Pages". 
  • Country Studies includes background information on the social, economic, of over 100 countries. . Use the Browse button to search for country files.
  • International Monetary Fund Country Reports provides extensive reports on varous countries. After selecting a report, click on the electronic access link to see the free .pdf version.
  • International Religious Freedom from the U.S. State Department provides annual reports on the status of religious freedom in individual countries of the world.
  • Social Watch is an international non-governmental organization (NGO) watchdog network monitoring poverty eradication and gender equality. Use the Annual Reports link and also the buttons at the top of the page for country reports and the development indicators. 

Finding Books in the Library

Go to TOROFIND: the CSUDH Library Catalog and search on the title, author, subject or keyword. Look not only for that specific call number, but also check out the books in that section.

  • If you don't see the right item listed, or want more titles, try an on a few keywords (in separate boxes).

Statistical and other Internet Resouces for International Information
  • Eurostat from the European Union provides a wealth of statistics on member nations. These include statistics on the populations, social condititions, industries, environment, transport, environment, and science and technology.For example, click on the links for Sustainable Development Indicators at the bottom of the page. Inequality of Income Distribution is a category under Monetary and Social Exclusion/Monetary Poverty. Explore all of the tabs to find tables and full publications.
  • Millennium Development Goal Indicators Database shows progress of countries toward meeting 8 goals, 18 targets and 48 indicators to free the human race from want, which were adopted by a consensus of experts from the United Nations Secretariat and IMF, OECD and the World Bank.
  • National Statistical Offices from the United Nations provides links to statistical offices of the countries of the world.
  • Social Indicators from the United Nations provides provides tables of statistics for easy comparison of country data. Click on the highlighted categories to access the data. Another way of access is to click here , and look for the small "Statistics" link.
  • World Bank Data & Statistics provides official source development data on the people, environment, economy, technology and infrastructure, and trade and finance. Click on Key Development & Data Statistics to access a page for individual country searches.

Journal & Newspaper Articles
Online indexes must be accessed through the CSUDH library homepage (library.csudh.edu). Under the section Articles, E-books, Online Scholarly Resources, you may either browse our databases by subject area or by name.
NOTE: These are subscription databases, selected and provided specifically for CSUDH students. To access from home, please see our Remote Patron Access Instructions guide for login instructions.
  • ABI/INFORM Global can be used to search a broad range of business topics, including topics of
  • Academic Search Premier: General index for all journal article topics. 
  • Country Studies (Library of Congress) presents a description and analysis of the historical setting and the social, economic, political, and national security systems and institutions of countries throughout the world and examines the interrelationships of those systems and the ways they are shaped by cultural factors.
  • Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) is a part of the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. It provides access to a vast archive of social science data for research and instruction. Register for access to the material.
  • JSTOR: is an excellent resource for finding full-text, scholarly articles in the social sciences and humanities.
  • Lexis-Nexis: 100% full-text newspapers, magazines and journal articles on a wide range of topics from around the world.
  • OxResearch provides analytical articles covering world and regional economic and political developments of major significance. Evaluates issues and events within a coherent political, social, and economic framework.
  • ProQuest Newspapers is a database of over 300 national and international news sources.
  • SocINDEX provides citations to scholarly articles from a full range of sociology journals.
  • Social Sciences Full Text (now part of EBSCO) includes full text articles in the areas of sociology and other social sciences.
  • Humanities Full Text (now part of EBSCO) provides full text articles in the areas of history, literature and other humanities.
  • CQ Researcher: complete reports on controversial topics and federal legislation
  • Oxford Music Online is a comprehensive index to scholarly research on international music.
  • MLA International Bibliography provides scholarly analysis on international literature.
  • Project Muse: Scholarly articles on a wide range of topics in the humanities and social sciences.
  • eBrary and NetLibrary: electronic (web-based) complete books on a wide variety of scholarly subjects.

Not sure how to search? Use our How To Find Articles help page for assistance.

Finding Quality Websites

These are indexes to quality web sites that have been reviewed by librarians. The sites have been checked for accuracy, timiliness, stabilty, and will generally conform to the standards of academic research. However, please be judicious in the use of websites in general, because anybody can put anything on the web.

  • Infomine (infomine.ucr.edu): A project from the Univeristy of California and other universities, it is a searchable index of websites specifically appropriate for university research. Click on SocSci & Humanities to search their specialized index.
  • Internet Public Library 2 (www.ipl.org): Index of websites reviewed by librarians, geared toward the general public. Choose a topic from the index or use Advanced Search to search for keywords.
  • CSUDH Virtual Reference Shelf contains links to websites and subscription services to answer a variety of information needs. 
  • Evaluating Information on the Web: This is a very good checklist from the Pasadena City College Library for judging the quality of not only information on the Internet, but any information you may want to use for an assignment.

Plagiarism and Citing Sources

What is plagiarism? - Plagiarism is "The action or practice of taking someone else's work, idea, etc., and passing it off as one's own; literary theft." (OED)

In essence, when you quote or paraphrase from somebody else's work without citing it, you are plagiarizing their work. Plagiarism is a serious matter, and could result in a lower or failing grade and even in your expulsion from university. Just rewording your work isn't enough to avoid plagiarism. Since you are still borrowing information heavily from another writer, you still need to include a citation.

But I didn't know! - Ignorance of the law is unfortunately no excuse. You can commit plagiarism without meaning to, and it's just as serious a problem if you do.

How can I avoid it? - You can avoid plagiarism by always citing your sources. Whenever you put a quotation or borrow information heavily from a source, be sure you include a citation in the proper APA style. This will let your professor know you aren't trying to pass the idea off as your own. Taking detailed notes on where you get your information helps a lot with this, since it prevents you from forgetting which is your own work and which is borrowed from others.

For more information, see the official CSUDH definition at http://www.csudh.edu/copyright/plagiarism.shtml

How to Cite Your Sources in a Research Paper shows you how to cite books, articles, and web resources in APA, MLA, and Turabian formats. Always check with your professor to find out which citation format is preferred.

Library Guides (.DOC format)