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Latin American Studies Research Guide  

an introductory guide to doing research in Latin American studies in UCSD Libraries
Last Updated: Jul 23, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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Finding Books and other materials

Web Portals/Internet Search Engines

Use the following portal to identify high-quality information on the Internet about Latin America:


  • Dissertations and Theses  Icon
    Dissertations/master's theses from 1,000+ graduate schools & universities in N. America/the world from 1861 to the present . Abstracts for dissertations 1980-present; master's theses 1988-present. Full-text of most UC dissertations starting about 1997 available at no charge.

    The database will allow you to preview the first few pages of the Dissertation. Dissertations (including foreign dissertations) can often be borrowed from other libraries via Interlibrary Loan. In some cases, the Libraries will purchase dissertations that support current research interests at UCSD.
  • Center for Research Libraries  Icon
    CRL is a good source for foreign dissertations; our CRL membership provides free loans for UCSD researchers.
  • Additional ETD Links  Icon
    Use this UCSD LibGuide for more links to ETD (electronic theses and dissertations) repositories across the globe.

Beginning your research

Information about Latin America can be found in a variety of formats and disciplines.   Much of what you find will be in Spanish or Portuguese.  This guide is designed to direct you to major sources of information in a variety of areas:

Begin searching for books using Melvyl - in the box to your left.  It is best to begin with UC Libraries then expand out to Libraries Worldwide.

To locate academic journal articles, use the various databases listed in the box below. News sources are listed on another tab at the top.

Theses and Disseratations (see below) are often important sources of original information and their bibliographies can lead you to other sources.

Primary sources are of particular importance in doing historical research or identifying first-hand perspectives on topics.  Some of the information may be in archives that have been digitized.  In some cases, the documents themselves may not yet be digitized, but finding aids to those collections help you identify if they can be helpful in your research.

Government information from Latin America often includes presidential messages, statements of public policy, and goverment produced statistics about country and its activities.  U.S. government information (particularly hearings and State Department documents) contain a wealth of information about U.S. relations with Latin America.

Much of the social science literature related to Latin America is published in grey literature (information produced by non-governmental organizations, research institutes, and other non-commercial publishing houses).

Quantitative data (statistics, data sets/ public opinion surveys, etc.) are important sources to use to support ideas you put forth.  These may require a basic knowledge of statistical program such as STATA. 



  • Academic Search Complete
    Multidisciplinary database that indexes and abstracts articles in more than 10,900 journals and other publications in English, Spanish, German, French, Italian and Portuguese; full-text is available for over 5300 journals.
    Indexes articles published in over 1200 Latin American journals in the social sciences and humanities. Its companion index PERIODICA covers over 1400 Latin American journals in science and technology. The merged database has over 400,00 citations dating back to 1975.
  • EconLit
    Journal articles, books, dissertations, and working papers in economics.
  • FRANCIS  Icon
    International index (from France) to journal articles published from 1984 to present in the humanities and social sciences, with special strength in religion, anthropology, history of art, literature, economics.
  • Handbook of Latin American Studies  Icon
    Online bibliography on Latin America consisting of works selected and annotated by scholars and edited by the Hispanic Division of the Library of Congress. It includes both books and journal articles and alternates annually between the social sciences and the humanities.
  • HAPI: Hispanic American Periodicals Index
    Indexes over 500 key social science and humanities journals published throughout the world about and from Latin America. Full text is included for a number of the journals.
  • Historical Abstracts
    Includes history of Latin America in its global coverage of more than 2600 journals.
    Full text of more than 1400 scholarly journals in social sciences, humanities, and sciences, to their earliest issues. Many titles extend as far back as late 19th or early 20th centuries; most recent 3-5 years not included. Includes over 35 journals related to Latin America. In most cases, the full text of the journals is available up to the most recent 3 years.
  • MLA International Bibliography  Icon
    The primary database of citations to journal articles, monographs, book chapters, and dissertations in Latin American literature and folklore. Important source for linguistics and non-technical aspects of theater & film. Covers ca. 1890-present.
  • PAIS International (Public Affairs Information Service)
    Indexes print and electronic articles, books, and government publications on issues of public policy, including politics, government, economy, marine policy, law. 1915 to present.
  • Redalyc  Icon
    Red de Revistas Científicas de América Latina y el Caribe, with searchable issues of over 800 academic journals containing more than 300,000 articles.
  • SciELO  Icon
    Scientific Electronic Library Online, covering over 400,000 articles from 1000 academic journals published in Latin America.
  • Sociological Abstracts
    Covers journal articles, books, dissertations, conference proceedings, other research covering sociology, social work, and related social sciences.
  • Web of Science  
    Provides author, keyword, and cited reference searching to more than 12,000 leading scholarly journals across all fields. In many cases with searchable abstracts plus links to e-journals.
  • Worldwide Political Science Abstracts
    Research within the political science discipline and its complementary fields, including international relations, law, and public administration/policy. 1975 to present.

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Harold Colson
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