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LAMS 1100: Introduction to Latin America (Biography Assignment)

About Reference Sources

Reference sources such as encyclopedias are great ways to get background information on a particular topic. Encyclopedia entries provide brief overviews of articles. They can help you confirm that you are interested in the topic and provide the foundational knowledge on a topic before you begin searching for more in-depth resources like journal articles.


For example, if your research paper was focused on the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), a good place to start your research would be to search "Sandinista" within the Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture. An encyclopedia entry will provide a background on the topic and may provide insights into some more specific aspects of the topic will help you tease out your research question. A full list of Latin American reference sources can be found in the Encyclopedias and Dictionaries section of this guide.


You can improve your grade on this assignment if you use numbers and statistics to support your argument. Reference sources are great tools when searching for this information. For example, Europa World Plus is a reference tool that provides up-to-date historical, political and economic information for countries and regions throughout the world. For example, if you are looking statistics on Nicaragua's economy, Europa World Plus would be a great place to start.

Online Reference Sources

Print Reference Sources

Print encyclopedias are located in the Reference section of the Library (1st Floor). These books cannot be borrowed from the Library - they must be used in the Library.

Make sure that you note the date of the publication. If your subject is a historical actor, then the date of publication may not matter. However, if your subject is a modern political actor, then older books may not have the up-to-date information required for this assignment.