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LIN 411 Seminar Linguistics (Cabrera)

A research guide for Bilingualism Research in Spanish.

Advanced Research Strategies

Plan on several rounds of research As your thesis evolves, you will find that you need more sources to support your arguments.  Most big research projects include at least 3 rounds of research: 

  1. gather general sources to help you narrow your topic
  2. find more sources that exactly match your refined thesis
  3. a third round to fill in gaps that may not be obvious until you start writing.

Check the footnotes/bibliography of every book, article, or website you find that is even vaguely on your topic.  This is a big part of how professors do research and can save you a ton of time.  See Finding Articles from a Bibliography  and Finding Books from a Bibliography for a reminder of how to find the full text.

Interlibrary Loan is essential.  If you complete your LIN 411 project without getting anything from outside this library, you probably haven't done great research.  If we don't own an article that looks good to you, request it!

Search in multiple databases.  This is especially essential for the topic of this class.  Bilingualism is a topic of interest to many disciplines and the best databases will vary by topic.

Always read the abstract.  It can be hard to tell what an article is really about based on just the title.  If it looks like it is anywhere close to your topic, it is worth taking that extra minute to read the abstract. 

Search using both Spanish and English search terms.  Do Spanish first, because you will likely get fewer results (because of the focus of our databases on scholarship in English).  Then repeat in English.

Keep organized.  You are going to have a lot of sources.  Set up a system for keeping track of them that works for you.  Some of our databases have folder systems for saving sources.  We also have a university subscription to Endnote or you could use a free option like Zotero or Mendeley.

Love Google Scholar?  You need to set it up to talk to WCU Libraries (find Library Links under the Settings option). That will allow you to access articles for which .

Ask for help!  If you feel stuck in your research, set up an appointment with me.


Bilingualism is important to and studied in many contexts, so you will find articles in many different databases.  Please read the descriptions of the databases below to help you find the ones that best match your research topic.
This is not a comprehensive list of our databases!  If none of these match up with your topics well, please email me your topic and I can advise on databases for other subject areas!
If you are not finding enough, you can also try our library search tool, which cross-searches all these databases and many more.

Don't Forget Books!

It can be tempting to just stick with articles, but scholarly books have a different focus than articles and will help you in different ways.

  • Books tend to provide overview and history of topics, while articles tend to assume you already know this stuff.
  • Books will often take time to explain theories and methodologies.  Articles mention them, but rarely explain them.
  • Books often summarize a great deal of prior scholarship, allowing you to learn a lot about a topic very quickly.
  • Books cover topics broadly and/or deeply, while articles have a very narrow focus (often a specific study).
  • Books are often easier to read!

Find what WCU Libraries' own via our catalog.

Look for books we don't own.

I like Google Books, but you can also use, or even Amazon.  If you find something we don't have, our EZ-Borrow service is free and delivers books in 2-3 business days.

Poster Printing

Did you know that you can get posters printed at the library?  The IMC on the lower level of Green Library has a high quality poster printer and low fees for printing.  See their page on poster printing for details, as well as lots of great tips on what to do (or not do) on your poster!

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