Skip to Main Content

Latin American Library Research Basics

A self-guided learning tool for building research skills in Latin American, Caribbean, Latinx, and Iberian Studies at Tulane University.

5.1. Learning Goals: Find Articles from Scholarly Journals

In this module, you will:

  • become familiar with key scholarly article databases for Latin American & Caribbean Studies research
  • learn important search and access strategies for different databases
  • reflect on the benefits and drawbacks of using different kinds of article databases

5.2. Library Search

In modules 3 and 4, you practiced using Library Search to look for books and other library resources.

To look for scholarly articles (rather than articles from a newspaper or popular magazine) in Library Search, start with an Advanced Search from Tulane University Libraries' homepage:


Next, make sure to select the EVERYTHING button at the top left, and the ARTICLES drop-down as Resource Type (to the right of the search lines):


Many times, your instructor will want you to only use articles from peer-reviewed journals. Use the filters in the left-hand column to refine your search to peer-reviewed articles from scholarly journals:


Once the Peer-Reviewed filter is active, your results will look like this:


If you're not sure what peer review is, this video gives a brief overview:

5.3. Hispanic American Periodicals Index (HAPI)

The Hispanic American Periodicals Index (HAPI) is a database designed to help you to discover articles from scholarly journals published around the world on Latin America and the Caribbean. The database's coverage includes everything from political, economic, and social issues to the arts and humanities.

When searching HAPI, keep in mind:

  • You'll get much more targeted results with HAPI than in general databases like Library Search or Google Scholar. Remember, however, that the results may be more limiting, since the database only includes those journals that HAPI has chosen to index.
  • Say you're researching the oil industry in Latin America broadly. You don't need to search oil AND Latin America, as you would in a general database, because your search is already circumscribed to content relating to Latin America. So, you could search just "oil industries" and/or related keywords, and know that the results will only pertain to Latin America.
  • When you use HAPI on Tulane's network (or via a Library Guide or A-Z Database List), a TU Link will appear next to the article citation. The TU Link will lead you to Library Search, from where you can access the article.


Here is a screenshot guide to using HAPI:


1. Search your keywords:


2. Use the TU Link to Access Content in Library Search


3. Click on the AVAILABLE ONLINE link/s in Library Search


4. Access the full text of the article


5. If we don't have full-text access, you can request a PDF of the article through Interlibrary Loan


  1. Search HAPI and find at least 1 article relevant to your research project. Make sure to click through to ensure Tulane provides access to the article (if not, you can order it through Interlibrary Loan). If you feel you could benefit from further instruction on using HAPI, you can access video tutorials on the database homepage:

5.4. Dialnet

Dialnet is one of the most important databases for academic content in Spanish. It includes citations to articles and book chapters from thousands of academic journals and thesis repositories in Spain, Portugal, and Latin America.

Watch this video tutorial on using Dialnet, then continue reading below:


As shown in the video, many records for articles and book chapters include a Texto Completo (Full Text) link to access or download the text:


You will also find citations of articles and book chapters without a full-text link. Those records will simply lack a Texto Completo link:


In these cases, you can request a PDF of the article or book chapter through an ARTICLE or BOOK CHAPTER request in Interlibrary Loan:


  1. Search Dialnet and find at least 1 article relevant to your research project. If the full text is not available, order it through Interlibrary Loan.

5.5. Google Scholar

Google Scholar is a general academic research database with a good deal of international content that includes scholarly articles, books, and book chapters. As opposed to, your results will be limited to academic contents and books. 

Watch these the two videos below:

  1. On advanced searching in Google, by University of Technology Sydney Library
  2. On how to link your Tulane Library account to Google Scholar, by Tulane University Libraries


  1. Search Google Scholar and find and access at least 1 article relevant to your research project. 

5.6.a. More Databases

Library Search, HAPI, Dialnet, and Google Scholar are four of the databases The Latin American Library recommends most frequently for research on Latin America, the Caribbean, and Spain.

However, it's important to remember:

  • Every research project has different needs. Some databases work well for some projects and not others.
  • Every database has different contents.
  • Every database uses different algorithms that affect your search results.
  • Therefore, it's important to use and compare several databases if you want to do a thorough information search.

The boxes below give a sense of the plethora of databases at your disposal via Tulane University Libraries, as well as the many Latin American databases you can use:

5.6.b. Databases by Discipline

JSTOR is not the only archive of journal articles available online--far from it! Since JSTOR only has agreements to provide content published in certain journals, it's important to try other databases.

Below are some of the top article databases for Film Studies. For more, see: Film & Cinema: Latin America & Spain.

Below are some of the top article databases for literary studies.  See the Spanish & Portuguese Library Guide for more.

5.6.c. Latin American Databases

These Latin American databases will help you discover scholarship produced In Latin America and the Caribbean. You'll find results in a wider variety of languages and from more diverse geographic perspectives.


  1. Pick 1 discipline-specific and/or Latin American database from boxes 5.6.b and 5.6.c to test out for your research project and find at least 1 article for your project. 

  2. Reflect on your experiences using the varied databases in this module:
    1. How do the results vary when you use the same keywords in each? 
    2. What are each database’s advantages and disadvantages?
    3. How might you adjust your keywords based on each database’s specific characteristics?
    4. Which databases seem to give the best results for your project?
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.