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Spain and Portugal   Tags: portugal, spain  

Last Updated: Jul 1, 2014 URL: http://guides.lib.byu.edu/spain_portugal Print Guide RSS Updates

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Iberian Studies: Spain and Portugal

This guide has been developed to save time and help produce a better research paper. It will guide you through the library research process and inform you of the best resources for your topic. If you need assistance at any time, please ask for help at a the Humanities (level 5) or Social Science (level 1) Reference Desk.

Additional related Subject Guides: Portuguese/Brazilian Literature Guide, Spanish Language/Literature Guide, Brazilian Art, and others. Browse all Guides.


Getting Started

1. Select Topic

Select a broad topic of interest to you. You will refine and narrow your topic as you go.   Go to Subject Guides with listings of helpful print and electronic resources.

2. Identify Terminology

It is essential to use the proper and specific terms for your subject, especially as you search electronic resources. Begin a list of terminology which is used in the literature for your topic, adding to it as you go along. There are several good sources to look up terminology.

a. Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) (Located on all References Desks)
b. Thesaurus of ERIC Descriptors (Level 1 Social Science Reference, or the ERIC database)

3. Locate Background Information

Do a brief background search using general and specialized encyclopedias, and other reference sources to gain a basic understanding of your topic. Look for relevant terminology, how a subject is subdivided, and any useful bibliographies--names of important works/scholars in the field. Names that repeatedly appear in your articles are most likely authorities. Paying attention to their ideas will be very helpful. As you read, be alert to questions and issues being discussed and how you might begin to narrow your topic. Go to the Background Resources page on this guide to find some helpful sources.

4. Focus the Topic and Form an Issue Question

With background gleaned from the above reference sources, you should have an awareness of the various sub-divisions of your topic, and the issues of your topic that are being discussed and researched. You are now prepared to narrow the scope of your research and write an "issue question" which you can research.

For example: "What are the characteristics of Spanish romantic novels?"

5. Organize Topic into Concepts

Since many research resources are computerized, prepare to do an electronic search by, first, underlining the main or key words in your issue question.

For example: "What are the characteristics of Spanish romantic novels?"

Using the following chart, place the keywords in separate concept boxes. Add additional synonymous terms from your terminology list within each concept box.

Concept 1
Concept 2
Concept 3












6. Books

Use Scholar Search or the Search Library Catalog functions to find books in our library. Also try WorldCat to find books in other libraries. Go to the Find Books page on this guide to find books.

7. Journal and Newspaper Articles

The researcher uses articles published in current periodicals (magazines/journals) to get the most current research. A variety of periodical indexes (databases) are available on the library's web site by selecting "Resources by Subject. Go to the Find Articles page on this guide for links to recommended periodical indexed for African Studies. Also look at disciplines such as anthropology or history.

If you have any questions, please check at the reference desk for assistance.

8. Internet Resources

If Internet resources are needed/allowed, first use those recommended under Select Web Sources.

9. Evaluate/Select/Cite Resources

Use the following criteria to evaluate your resources:

Reliability : Is the information scholarly and accurate? What clues are present to help you judge accuracy--footnotes, bibliography, credits, quotations?

Credibility : What are the author's qualifications? Is he/she affiliated with a university or other scholarly institute?

Perspective : Is the author objective, biased, or trying to sway the reader?

Timeliness : How recently was the information published

10. Prepare Your Paper

Cite resources using the writing style manual recommended by your instructor. The main style manuals can be found at most Reference Desks and some brief versions of the guides can be found on the library's web site under E-Reference. You may want to also use RefWorks to help you organize your materials and prepare your bibliography or works cited page.

Latin American and Iberian Studies Librarian

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David P. Wiseman
Contact Info
5450 HBLL
(801) 422-2473
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Get Help

Humanities  Reference
Level 5
Hours: M-Th: 8am-9pm;
F: 8am-6pm; Sat:10am-6pm



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