Latin American & Latino/a Studies Majors Research Skills

Information Literacy

Information literacy is an indispensible foundation for developing research skills. The Latin American & Latino/a Studies program asks all students to familiarize themselves with the Smith College Information Literacy Mission Statement, as well as the Definitions and Standards of Information Literacy.

Writing Intensive Classes

For a description of basic information literacy skills required of all students before entering upon work in their major, click here. These skills may be regarded by all students as a base for further study. Help is available through the Neilson Library Reference Department's Ask a Librarian options.

Skills for LALS Majors

Latin American & Latino/a Studies is an interdisciplinary major and minor exploring the emergence of new cultures that developed as a result of the meeting of Native Americans, Africans and Europeans.  Students are trained in a wide variety of approaches and methodologies through courses in fields such as History, Literature, Anthropology, Art History, Economics, Sociology and Government.

Students should:

  • develop critical thinking skills to evaluate sources in a wide number of fields
  • recognize major scholars and issues in Latin American and Latino/a Studies
  • collect evidence through field experience and use of scholarly sources
  • engage in research using the Five College Library Catalog, library databases and interlibrary loan
  • understand plagiarism
  • learn to use standard citation formats

Key Sources for LALS

Below are important sources for Latin American/Latino/a Studies. For a more complete list see the Neilson Library Research Guide for Latin American & Latino/a Studies.

Background

Reference Source or Website Smith College Online Access
Companion to Latin American Literature & Culture Blackwell Reference Online
The Dictionary of Literary Biography Gale/Cengage DLB Online
Scribner Writers Online Scribner Writers Online
Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture Gale/Cengage Online
FLACSO: La Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales http://www.flacso.org

Statistical Resources on the Web

University of Michigan
LANIC: Latin American Network Information Center University of Texas / Austin

Important Journals

Journal Title Call Number / Access
(bound volumes - Neilson Level 2 South)
Latin American Research Review  per F 1401 .L345  /  online
The Hispanic American Historical Review  per F 1401 .H66  /  online
Latin American Perspectives  per F 1401 .L335  /  online

Research Databases

The following list provides some important research databases:

Books Access
Five College Library Catalog click here
WorldCat (all dates) click here
Journals/Articles Access
Academic Search Premier (1965+) click here
JSTOR (back issues excluding most recent 2-5 years) click here
Project Muse (current issues) click here
Journal Locator (search for specific journals by title) click here
HAPI: Hispanic American Periodical Index (1970+) click here
Humanities Abstracts (1984+) click here
Social Sciences Abstracts (1983+) click here
PAIS International (1915+) click here
Historical Abstracts (1953+) click here
News Articles Access
LexisNexis Academic (coverage varies) click here
Jornal do Brasil (Brazil) click here
La Jornada en línea (Mexico) click here
La Nación (Argentina) click here

Ethical Use of Information

Plagiarism is a very serious violation of the Smith College Honor Code. For more information, PLEASE CONSULT: http://www.smith.edu/sao/handbook/socialconduct/honorcode2.php

Assessment

Students enrolled in 200 level courses should be able to create a bibliography using sources from the online catalog, some scholarly journals, and appropriate internet sites.

At the 300 level students should demonstrate even greater information literacy. Research papers should include primary and secondary sources originating in the U.S., Latin America, and other parts of the world. Papers should include sources reflecting relevant scholarly debates in the field.

Students at both levels should be prepared to discuss and evaluate all of their sources.

Approved by members of the Latin American & Latino/a Studies faculty, May 25, 2011.