Research Sources and Methods in Latin American Studies 

Fall 2005

Wednesdays 3:30-6:00pm

Taliaferro 2110
McKeldin 2109

Syllabus: http://www.history.edu/Faculty/DWlliams/Fall05/HIST619X
Resource Guide: http://www.lib.umd.edu/MCK/GUIDES/latin_america2.html

Prof. Daryle Williams
Department of History
2131A Francis Scott Key Hall
(301) 405-4267

Course Description and Objectives

HIST 619X is intended to familiarize pre-candidacy graduate students to the various research sources and methods used in the core disciplines of Latin American studies. Through a series of assigned projects and peer critiques, the course aims to prepare enrolled students for extensive research in and on Latin America, with special emphasis on the humanities and social sciences. A parallel objective is the refinement of the skills necessary to write successful grant applications and dissertation prospectuses.   The course's primary audience is graduate students working on Latin American history. Reading knowledge of Spanish or Portuguese and basic computer literacy are course requirements.

Course Organization  

The course is organized around an introduction to the fundamentals of research (ResearchPort, Library of Congress Subject Headings, Boolean searches, Handbook of Latin American Studies, Hispanic American Periodicals Index), followed by four modules that cover the sources and problems of dissertation-level research in four selected disciplinary clusters (History and Anthropology; Literature, Cultural Studies and Cinema; Social Sciences; Art History and the Visual Arts).  Visits to the National Archives, the Library of Congress, and the Oliveira Lima Library are planned. 

Course Requirements 

There are two main requirements for the course: Plans of Research and the final paper.    

Plans of Research: Logistics  

During each module, the class will be divided into pairs. For the sake of convenience, the members of these pairings will be called Authors and Respondents.   At the start of each three-week module, each Author will be assigned a problem in need of a carefully-crafted research paper.  The Author will then develop a Plan of Research that establishes key themes, methodologies, and sources relevant to the assigned problem.  No later than 72 hours prior to the third week of each module, the Author will provide the Respondent with  a draft of the Plan of Research. The Respondent will then prepare preliminary feedback for the AuthorŐs in-class presentation of the Plan. Based upon the Respondent's preliminary feedback and other comments raised in class, the Author will revise and update his/her Plan of Research, submitting a final draft one week later.   The Author-Respondent pairings will change for each of the four modules, with each student switching roles.  Thus, all students will play the role of Author and Respondent twice.  

Plans of Research: Plans of Research  

Each Plan of Research should be approximately 10-12 pages and contain the following components:

1) a compelling hypothesis that engages the central problems raised in the assigned topic and your approach to it;
2) a discussion of the salient terminological, methodological, and empirical issues necessary to substantiate your hypothesis and pursue further research;
3) a annotated log of the research strategies and discovery process employed in the crafting of the Plan of Research. The log should provide specific detail on types of sources used, the order in which they were used. False starts, dead ends, and changed directions should be documented in the research log;
4) a bibliography that identifies up to twenty (20) significant sources that might be used in the development of a full research project. The bibliography must include print and electronic sources. The bibliography should conform to the Chicago Manual of Style.  

The written portion of the RespondentŐs feedback should be approximately three-to-four pages, and contain critical assessments of the following components:  
1) the hypothesis
2) terminological, methodological, and empirical issues
3) the search strategy and discovery process
4) the bibliography   These case studies will evaluated for the quality of the hypothesis statement, the presence of a clear and compelling case for methodological and empirical significance of the chosen plan of research, an effective and critical use of print and electronically resources, and finally creativity.    

Final Paper 

Each student will be required to submit a final paper appropriate to the stage of his/her academic career. Students can choose between writing a research proposal suitable for a major grant program (e.g. Social Science Research Council, National Endowment for the Humanities, Fulbright-Hays, Fulbright-IIE) or a prospectus for a master's or doctoral thesis.  The paper is due no later than Commencement.  


As such, there are no assigned readings. However, relevant readings related to the challenge(s) of research may be assigned during the course.  

Style Manuals  

When citing works listed in your research log, you may use the citation style appropriate to the print or electronic database from which the citation was selected. However, the bibliography component of the Plan of Research must conform to the Chicago Manual of Style (14th ed.)  (NOTE: The most recent edition of the Chicago Manual of Style incorporates the classic A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertation, developed by Kate Turabian.)   An online guide to the CMS and other styles is available through the University of Wisconsin-Madison Writing Center.  See the Writer's Handbook at http://www.wisc.edu/writing/Handbook/Documentation.html.   A listing of other style manuals can be consulted at: http://www.lib.umd.edu/ETC/Reference.html#style  


The final grade will be determined using the following formula:  

Case Studies


Final Project


Class Participation


Statement of Academic Integrity 

Essential to the fundamental purpose of the University is the commitment to principles of truth and academic honesty. Because academic dishonesty, which refers to cheating, plagiarism, or helping someone else to cheat or commit plagiarism, jeopardizes the quality of education and depreciates the genuine achievement of others it must be reported to the Honor Council. The Code of Academic Integrity guides this and all other courses taught at the University of Maryland. Violations may result in a failing grade and/or referral to a University disciplinary committee. The full text of the Code is available on-line at http://www.studenthonorcouncil.umd.edu/code.html.  

The Honor Pledge 

Under the provisions of the resolution adopted by the University Senate on April 9, 2001, and approved by President Mote on May 10, 2001, all students will be asked to write by hand and sign the following pledge on all written assignments and examinations, unless otherwise instructed: "I pledge on my honor that I have not given or received any unauthorized assistance on this assignment/examination.   For additional information on the Student Honor Pledge, visit http://www.umd.edu/honorpledge.


Course Calendar (Overview)   

Week I

Course Introduction

August 31



2110 Taliaferro


Week II

Introduction to Information Resources & Research Techniques

Sept.  7

Library Faculty: Pat Herron, Arts and Humanities Team


MODULE I: History and Anthropology


Week III

Research Sources and Techniques

Sept. 14

Library Faculty: Yelena Luckert and Eric Lindquist, Arts and Humanities Team


McKeldin 2109


Week IV

Introduction to the Library of Congress

Sept. 21

Guest Faculty: Everette Larson


Hispanic Reading Room, Library of Congress


Week V

Discussion and Critique of Plans of Research

Sept. 28



2110 Taliaferro


MODULE II: Literature, Cultural Studies, and Film


Week IX

Research Sources and Techniques

Oct. 5

Library Faculty: Pat Herron, Arts and Humanities Team


McKeldin 2109


Week X

Introduction to the National Archives and Records Administration

Oct. 12

Guest Faculty: Michael Hussey


Archives II

Week XI

Discussion and Critique of Plans of Research

Oct. 19

2110 Taliaferro


MODULE III: Social Sciences


Week VI

Research Sources and Techniques

Oct. 26

Library Faculty: Gerri Foudy, Social Sciences Team


McKeldin 2109


Week VII


Nov. 2





Discussion and Critique of Plans of Research

Nov. 9



2110 Taliaferro


MODULE IV: Art History and Visual Culture


Week XII

Research Sources and Techniques

Nov. 16

Library Faculty: Joan Stahl, Art Library


Art Library




Nov. 23



Week XIV

Introduction to the Oliveira Lima Library

Nov. 30

Guest Faculty: Maria Angela Leal


022 Mullen Library, Catholic University of America


Week XV

Discussion and Critique of Plans of Research

Dec. 7

2110 Taliaferro