Skip to Main Content

SPAN 405: Bitter Flavors of the Americas: Sugar, Coffee & Bananas

Some Things to Keep in Mind

  • Look for a variety of sources including books, journal articles, essays in books, etc.
  • Use different search tools available to you: Primo and the many databases available through Collins are great starting points. You can also look into Google Scholar. You can also use these available subject guides if you are looking to incorporate more interdisciplinary perspectives into your research. 
  • Don't leave your research to the last minute. Research takes time and you will likely experience some frustrations and setbacks. Give yourself enough time to work through the process, request materials from other libraries, and revise your work. 
  • Use Summit and interlibrary loan services to access materials that are not available in Collins.
  • Use a note and citation system or tool that works for you. We recommend using Zotero or RefWorks!
  • Reach out to your liaison librarian if you are feeling stuck or have questions! 


Getting Started with Subject Encyclopedias

Subject encyclopedias, handbooks and overviews are scholarly, tertiary works written by experts on a variety of topics. The articles are typically longer and more detailed than those found in general encyclopedias. The background information provides a good starting point as you begin the research process. These resources can help you with:

  • Understanding the scope of a topic
  • Suggesting ideas for narrowing a topic
  • Identifying key concepts, terms, dates and names
  • Listing subject areas related to a topic
  • Recommending sources for further exploration

In Collins Library, the print reference collection is located on the first floor, and most of the online reference collection is available in one of the databases listed below. Use Collins Library Primo Search to identify subject encyclopedias in either format; or ask a librarian for recommendations.

Featured Encyclopedias


Encyclopedia of U.S.-Latin American Relations

Encyclopedia of U.S.-Latin American Relations is a comprehensive, A-to-Z reference featuring more than 800 entries detailing the political, economic, and military interconnections between the United States and the countries of Latin America, including Mexico and the nations in Central America, the Caribbean, and South America.


Encyclopedia of Western Colonialism since 1450

Provides students and researchers with a much-needed, comprehensive resource on the subject of colonialism and expansion. From a global perspective, the set traces many facets of colonial growth and imperialism, and much more.

Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture

Provides a comprehensive, multidisciplinary view of Latin American history and culture from prehistoric times to the present. Covers cultural issues and includes numerous biographical profiles of important figures in politics, letters and the arts.

Encyclopedia Databases

Related Subject Guides

Guides to Research and Writing