Search strategy
Here is a good, basic formula for getting started with your research in Comparative American Studies.
  1. Begin by using the keyword brainstorming worksheet docx to help you tweak your research question, identify keywords and related terms, and keep track of what you find.  
  2. Search in a library catalog (Summon, OBIS, OhioLINK and/or WorldCat) to find books and reference sources.  They provide BACKGROUND and CONTEXT, review and SUMMARIZE earlier work, help you FOCUS your topic and provide CITATIONS to important books, journal articles, conference papers, interviews, etc.
  3. Next, search research databases to find articles. The Library has hundreds of databases available, but the ones listed below are good places to begin.
  4. You may also wish to use Google or Google Scholar to search the Internet.  Take advantage of Google's advanced search features!
  5. Finally, use the CRAAP test worksheet pdf to evaluate the sources you find!
Finding books and reference sources
OBIS: Catalog of the Oberlin College Library Unrestricted Resource
OhioLINK Library Catalog Unrestricted Resource
WorldCat Restricted Resource

Finding secondary sources
Academic Search Complete Restricted Resource Some full text available Resource contains images
Multidisciplinary - good for nearly all subjects. Scholarly and trade journals, popular magazines, newspapers, conference proceedings, book reviews, and more.

America: History and Life Restricted Resource
Index to research on the history and culture of the United States and Canada, from prehistory to the present. Indexes articles and book reviews from more than 1,700 journals published in more than 40 languages. Dates of Coverage: 1964 to date

Ethnic NewsWatch Restricted Resource Some full text available
Full-text coverage of newspapers, magazines and journals of the ethnic, minority and native press in America. Dates of Coverage:  1959 to date

JSTOR Restricted Resource Some full text available
Scholarly journal archive for the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences;  most journals 2-5 years out-of-date

SocINDEX Restricted Resource Some full text available
Provides full text of some journal articles, and indexing and abstracts for journals, books and conference papers.  Covers all sub-fields of sociology, including criminology, gender, marriage & family studies, social work, social psychology, addictions, violence, and more.   
Internet resources
Inter-University Program for Latino Research -- a national consortium of university-based centers dedicated to the advancement of the Latino intellectual presence in the United States. IUPLR works to expand the pool of Latino scholars and leaders and increase the availability of policy-relevant Latino-focused research. Some Midwest-based member institutions are listed below.
Research help
Selected texts on Latinas/os in the Midwest
  • Latinos in the Midwest / edited by Rubén O. Martinez
    (OBIS record)
  • City of dreams : Latino immigration to Chicago / Wilfredo Cruz
    (OBIS record)
  • Images of America: Mexican Chicago / Rita Arias Jirasek, Carlos Tortolero
    (OBIS record)
  • Harvest of hope : the pilgrimage of a Mexican-American physician / Jorge Prieto
    Not available at Oberlin; request via OhioLINK
  • Chicanas of 18th Street : narratives of a movement from Latino Chicago / Leonard G. Ramírez 
    (OBIS record)
  • Latino ethnic consciousness : the case of Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans in Chicago / Felix M. Padilla
    (OBIS record)
  • La causa : civil rights, social justice, and the struggle for equality in the Midwest / Gilberto Cárdenas, editor 
    (OBIS record)
  • A grounded identidad : making new lives in Chicago's Puerto Rican neighborhoods / Mérida M. Rúa
    (OBIS record)
Writing & citation help


ProQuest RefWorks is a citation management tool that helps researchers gather, manage, store and share information, as well as generate citations and bibliographies in a wide variety of styles.
  • Search - OBIS, OhioLink, PubMed & Scopus
  • Share - Folders via URL
  • Store - PDFs online and take notes
  • Read - Search your references fulltext and save searches
  • Write - Create a simple reference list and use Write-N-Cite to format paper in Microsoft Word
  • Check out our video tutorial!
Back to TOP