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Latin American & Caribbean Studies Research Guide

Search Tips

Not sure how to construct the right kind of search for finding specific eras, events, or people?  Try to focus your search on three keyword concepts:  Event, Text, and Topic.  See examples below.


  • Start with the general event, and then narrow it down to specifics.
  • Look for key people involved
  • Fall of the Aztecs
  • Cordoba, Moctezuma II, Cortes
  • Primary sources
  • Secondary sources
  • Letters, historical newpapers, archival material, digitized primary sources
  • Biographies, scholarly articles, historiography (Historical Abstracts, HAPI online, JSTOR)
Topic Use a topic related to your central argument, such as:
  • Event(s)
  • Country
  • Religion
  • Politics
  • Economy or Trade
  • Exploration
  • Olmecs, Maya, Inca, Aztec
  • Spanish explorers
  • Catholic church
  • Colonial Mexico
  • Reform movements

Then, think about how you can combine your keywords using AND or OR.

So how does this translate?  Let's say you were writing a paper the origins of Mexico under Bonaparte. Some of the searches you could try include:

  • Maximilian AND second Mexican empire
  • Aztecs AND Tenochtitlan
  • Battle of San Jacinto AND Alamo