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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.

8.1. Learning Goals: Track Citations

In this module, you will learn:

  • why it's important to combine database searching with citation tracking
  • how to track citations (i.e. track down and access sources cited in articles and books you have already identified for your research)

8.2. What is Citation Tracking?

Watch this video from Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) Libraries to learn more about citation tracking and how to go about it.

Note: while this video models citation tracking in the IUP Libraries' discovery system, you can follow the same method to track citations and access sources in Tulane University Libraries' Library Search. Remember that you can use Interlibrary Loan to request any sources to which Tulane University Libraries do not provide access.

8.3. Why Track Citations?

Citation tracking allows you to:

  • find relevant sources for your research project that you may not have encountered by searching keywords in academic databases
  • understand and contextualize the source you are working with, and the sources cited therein, as part of a larger scholarly conversation or debate
  • identify which are seminal and oft-cited texts for your research area
  • better situate your own argument in relation to existing scholarship


  1. Using what you learned in previous modules, and after watching the video in box 8.2, identify one article or book that is highly relevant to your research project. Then:

    1. Explore that book or article, along with its notes and/or bibliography, and identify at least 1 article and 1 book that you want to track down. Use Library Search to see if Tulane University Libraries provides access to the article or book. If not, request it through Interlibrary Loan.

    2. Search one of the books or articles you identified in Google Scholar. Use the Cited by button to identify more sources for your project.

8.4. Track Citations from Encyclopedias & Bibliographies

Academic encyclopedias and bibliographies are excellent tools to discover sources on a given topic recommended by experts in the field. They provide overviews of concrete research topics; identify key works in the field; and include suggestions for further reading.

The following are two key encyclopedia and reference databases for Latin American Studies:


  1. Find and read an entry related to your research topic in one of the databases above. Consult the bibliography and/or suggested reading lists and track down more sources for your project.

Search tips:

  • Be sparing and general in your keyword searches in these databases. For example, first just search the name of the country and see what they have. Then, try adding a more specific keyword to narrow down. These databases won't have everything under the sun, but when they do have an entry related to your topic, they will prove very useful.
  • Use the TU Link on any citation to access the source via Tulane University Libraries' Library Search.
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