UCB Libraries

Span 4220

Literature of the Spanish Civil War: Representation and Memory
  • Starting Research
  • Books
  • Articles
  • Websites
  • Citing
  • Evaluating


Focussing a Topic | Finding Background Information | Finding Reference Sources | Developing Keywords


Focussing a topic

Once you have determined a topic, issue or subject of interest, you will need to focus the topic into a researchable question. Some tips for doing so are:

  • Brainstorm about your topic. Identify related issues, people, events etc.
  • List what you already know about your topic, and what you need to know or want to know.
  • Determine what perspective will you take on your topic.

Often doing some preliminary reading or background research is extremely helpful in developing a focus. Move to the next step 'Getting Background Info' for some tips.



Finding Background Information

Developing a comprehensive understanding of your topic is essential when embarking on research. One way to gain background information is to utilize reference sources. This will help you to focus and concentrate your interest in a researchable portion of your topic.


Reference sources can be an ideal starting point in the research process. Many reference sources will provide you with:

  • an overview and background information on a topic
  • the established knowledge on a topic
  • the most important facts about a topic
  • the key figures, places, or events related to your topic
  • a list of recommended readings on a topic

You may choose to search the internet or newspapers for background information, which may be helpful as well. But keep in mind some of the benefits of reference sources:

  • They have gone through an editorial process
  • They are often written by specialists in the field
  • They do not use jargon
  • They tend to be short and concise

You will find numerous reference sources in the UCB Libraries' collection, both online and in print.


Also try Subject Guides:

Spanish & Portuguese Language and Literature 

Finding Reference Sources


You will find numerous reference sources in the UCB Libraries' collection, both online and in print.

SEARCH your topic in Reference Universe, enter your topic in the search box below:

Reference Universe: This is a searchable database that indexes information from specialized subject encyclopedias. It does not include the full text of reference materials but will point you to reference sources that cover your topic. It searches both the titles of reference articles as well as the encyclopedia / dictionary indexes, providing a thorough level of access to materials and potential sources. CU


Some more CU Reference Source examples:

General Online Encyclopedias:

Encyclopedia Britannica CU
Gale Virtual Reference Library CU
Oxford Digital Reference Shelf CU

World Almanac CU


Specialized Dictionaries:


Oxford Language Dictionaries Online   CU

Real Academia Española: http://www.rae.es/rae.html



The Cambridge history of Spanish literature

PQ6033 .C36 2004


Diccionario Espasa literatura española. 2003
PQ6051 .B74 2003


Diccionario de literatura española e hispanoamericana. 1993 (2 volumes)
PQ6006 .D6


Dictionary of the Literature of the Iberian Peninsula. 1993 (2 volumes)
PN8495 .S6D54


A Sourcebook for Hispanic Literature and Language. 1995
Z2695 .A2 B55


Hispanic Literature Criticism. 1994. (2 volumes)
PQ7081 .A1 H573


Historia y crítica de la literatura española. 1980-1992. (9 volumes)
PQ6032 .H57



Diccionario de la guerra civil española

DP269 .R77 1987


Historical dictionary of modern Spain, 1700-1988

DP192 .H57 1990


Historical dictionary of Spain

DP12 .S59 1996 (Stacks)


Historical dictionary of the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939

DP269 .H54 1982 (Stacks)

For more reference source search tips, go to How do I find Reference Sources.


Developing Keywords

Before you start to research a topic, you need to develop keywords that represent your research interest, question, or inquiry.


Keywords are significant words (usually nouns or noun phrases) which can be used as search terms in online catalogs or databases. Keywords will determine the quantity and relevance of results you retrieve when searching.


First you will identify and articulate your topic in your own words:

Example: I am interested in investigating the representation of social class in civil war literature

Next you will designate the main concepts or ideas that describe the topic:


Concept 1:



Concept 2:

social class

Concept 3:

civil war literature


Then develop other terms and vocabulary that represent the topic. Some terms may be broader, narrower, or synonyms. Adding terms that represent geographical distincitions, time periods, or significant figures about your topic may also be useful.


Concept 1:












Concept 2:




societal group









Concept 3:


Second Spanish Republic


Spain under Franco


Spanish State








Combining Keywords


AND: nobility AND bourgeoisie (must find both terms)
OR: Spain OR Spanish (must find one of the terms)
NOT: Spain NOT Madrid (must find first term NOT second term)



Phrases: “literary movement” (must find that phrase in that order)
Synonyms: (breed OR caste) AND Spain
Wildcards: Latin America* will find Latin American, Latin Americans etc


You may use the UCB Search Strategy/ Keyword Worksheet to develop your own topic.

For details on combining keywords for the best results view the

How Do I Use Keywords




Chinook is the catalog for materials owned by the CU Libraries. You can do a title search for a specific book, or a keyword search if you are looking for books on a particular topic. You can also use MyChinook to manage your library account (including renewals, holds, recalls, saved searches, etc.)

 Chinook Catalog    


Tutorial: Chinook Keyword Search


For Tips on developing keywords for your topic go to:


How do I Choose Keywords for my search



Subject Headings

To find books on relevant topics, search Chinook more in-depth by using LC Subject Headings. The following selection may help get you started. Also, pay attention to the subject headings used for books you've already identified in order to find other works on the same subject and also identify keyword search terms.


Spain History Civil War 1936 1939
Spain History Civil War 1936 1939 Literature And The War
Spain Literature And Society
Spanish Literature 20th Century




If you search Chinook and find that the CU Libraries do not have the item you are looking for (or if the item you are looking for is checked out), you can search Prospector, which is a combined library catalog of 23 libraries in Colorado and Wyoming. CU students, staff and faculty can request materials through Prospector, and the items will generally be delivered to Norlin within a few business days. prospector prospector


Request through Interlibrary Loan (ILL) - http://ucblibraries.colorado.edu/ill/

If the item you are looking for is not in Chinook or Prospector, you can request it through Interlibrary Loan (ILL). Generally, an ILL request will take longer to be delivered than material requested through Prospector.




Articles By Topic | Choosing a Database | Articles From a Citation


If you are looking for articles on a particular topic, you can use many relevant databases that CU Libraries subscribes to. Some of the article databases only include citation information about the article, while others include access to the full-text of the document, usually in either PDF or HTML format.


The most relevant databases for Spanish Literature and History are listed below. You can also try the Find Articles & More page where the databases are organized by subject/ discipline categories.

If the particular database you search does not have the full-text of the article available, look for the 'Find it at CU' option to search for electronic or print copies. If you are unable to locate the 'Find it at CU' option, follow the steps for finding a specific article below.

Typically you may search by keyword, author, title and more. For help developing keywords, go to How do I Choose Keywords? HINT! Keep track of search terms. Look for database recommended search terms and help resources.


WAIT! Are you connecting from off-campus?

Tutorial: VPN


The Libraries subscribe to numerous databases and choosing the right article database can be difficult. There are numerous types of databases some will provide citations and abstracts, some will also include full text, some will link to reference materials, and more.


  • General and Interdisciplinary databases: These databases are a good starting point when you are new to your topic. They often include scholarly and popular sources as well as material from a variety of disciplines and perspetives. For Example: Academic Search Premier

  • Subject or Discipline Databases: These databases will help you find material from specific disciplines. They provide more in-depth and focused research. For Example:MLA international bibliography
  • Format Specific Databases: These databases are narrowed to specific types of material, such as newspapers, statistics, images, biographies etc. For Example: ProQuest newspapers

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Literature Databases


MLA international bibliography

Articles in literature, languages, linguistics, drama/theatre, and folklore from several thousand journals and series published worldwide. Also covers relevant monographs, working papers, proceedings, and bibliographies. CU


Contemporary literary criticism CU

Articles from scholarly journals in the fields of Literary & Social Criticism Literature


Humanities Full Text CU

Articles from scholarly journals in the fields of Film, Folklore, Gender Studies, History, Literary & Social Criticism Literature, Philosophy, Religion and Theology



Articles from back issues of selected scholarly journals in history and other fields of the humanities and social sciences.



History Databases


Academic search premier

Articles from scholarly journals and popular magazines from social sciences, humanities, language and linguistics and arts & literature. CU


Arts & Humanities Citation Index CU
Scholarly articles from the fields of arts and humanities


Historical abstracts CU

Index of articles on the history of the world from 1450 to the present



CU = Available to CU affiliates only.
How to connect from home: Remote access information.


If you have a specific article you need or you are tracking works from a bibliography, you will use:


Find it @ CU Article Finder
Complete this form to find the article in electronic or print.

Tutorial: Find it @ CU Article Finder

OR use the Chinoook Journals/ Serials Title search. Be sure to look for the journal/ magazine title NOT the article title. Then follow the links to the correct volume, issue, year, page number.

Tutorial: Chinook Periodical Title





About the Spanish Civil War (poesía, imágenes, y referencias generales a la guerra) http://www.english.uiuc.edu/maps/scw/scw.htm


El Archivo Rojo: Conjunto fotográfico creado por la Junta de Defensa de
Madrid como fondo propagandístico para denunciar los desastres de la
Guerra Civil.



Asociación para la Recuperación de la Memoria Histórica (sobre la recuperación de la memoria de la guerra)



The Spanish Civil War, Dreams and Nightmares (sección de cine y guerra civil, archivo sonoro)



Southworth Spanish Civil War Collection (carteles, fotos y dibujos de la guerra hechos por niños)



Republic and Republicanism Department of Modern and Contemporary History at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona devoted to the Spanish Second Republic (1931-9).


La Cucharacha Illustrated daily diary of the Civil War


Antonio Machado

Abel Martín : revista de estudios sobre Antonio Machado



A media voz



Biblioteca Virtual del Español



Miguel Hernández

Biblioteca Virtual del Español



Fundación cultural Miguel Hernández






Emilio Prados

Los poetas de la generación del '27



Francisco Ayala

Biblioteca Virtual del Español



Realidad y mito del '98 : las distorsiones de la percepción. Ciencia y pensamiento en España (1875-1923)



Mercè Rodoreda

Associació d'escriptors en llengua catalana



Institut d'Estudis Catalans



Lletra: L'espai virtual de literatura catalana




Real Academia Española: http://www.rae.es/rae.html


Oxford Language Dictionaries Online   CU




Hemeroteca Digital: http://hemerotecadigital.bne.es/inicio.htm


La Vanguardia (hemeroteca digital desde 1881)


Biblioteca Virtual de Prensa Historica

Providing access to digitised historical newspapers from Spain, this database covers over 2000 historical newspapers, which were printed between 1777 and 2005.








Citation Styles | RefWorks | Tips & Strategies


Citation Styles

The following guides provide samples of common citation formats. Consult Reference Desk personnel for additional information.


MLA Style (PDF document)


You may also find print guides in the library:




A personal online database and bibliography creator that allows users to create a personal database online, import references automatically from multiple databases, organize references, and quickly format bibliographies and manuscripts. You will need to create a login and password. Provided by the University of Colorado Boulder Libraries.


How do I use RefWorks?


Pick an Interesting Topic It is easier to express your own opinions and thoughts if you are interested in the topic.


Manage Your Time

Many students are tempted to plagiarize because they do not start researching and writing far enough in advance. Start your paper at least 3 weeks before the due date. Plagiarism could compromise your entire academic career. Speak to your professor if you have run out of time.


Create a Bibliography as you Research

Record the sources you consult. Include all the bibliographic information needed in your works cited (Author, Title, Pages, Publisher, Year, Volume, Issue).This will help you to cite correctly and to compile your works cited.


Take Clear Notes

Designate all direct quotes with quotation marks.

Designate when you are paraphrasing.

Electronic Research and Note taking is the same: Use quotation marks when you cut and paste.

Always note the source/ author.


Be Careful with Paraphrasing

Be sure you understand the text.

Do not look at the original source when writing your paraphrase.

Reorganize the information in your own words and in your own style.

Check to be sure you have not used the vocabulary or structure of the original work.

Mention the author near or in your paraphrase.


And Remember to Cite:

Any information that was not originally created by you:
  • Quotations
  • Key terms or phrases
  • Ideas
  • Facts not broadly known
  • Images and Sounds
Any material from another source regardless of where you found it:
  • Printed sources
  • Electronic sources
  • Conversation or email
  • Recorded sources
  • Images




evaluating sources | Popular v Scholarly

There are three steps you can follow to evaluate the sources (articles, websites, books) that you have found. You will want to evaluate the credibility of the author, validity of the research, and relevance of articles and web sites.


Authority of the Author


The first step in evaluating a source is determining the authority of the author who produced the material. To determine authority, you'll want to evaluate the trustworthiness (credentials, education, experience, etc.) of an author.


To determine credibility, ask these questions: 

  • Is the author formally educated in the subject?
  • Does the author work for a university or research center?
  • Is the author a recognized scholar in the subject?
  • Does the author have an established history of research and writing on the subject?

Validity of the Research


The second step of evaluating a source is determining the validity of the research being presented in the article, website or book. To ensure that the research is valid, you want to determine the quality of the research used to support the argument being made. It is also important to remember that excellent or persuasive writing doesn't necessarily ensure that the research presented is valid.


To determine the validity of the research in the source, ask these questions:

  • Does the author thoroughly cite all the sources? (Saying "a study was done" is not a citation.)
  • Is there a list of sources at the end of the article?
  • Does the author's evidence support the claim?
  • Is the author's evidence objective research instead of personal narrative?
  • Does it come from a peer-reviewed publication (which means the research was evaluated by experts before it was published)?

Relevance to Your Topic


The third step in evaluating a source is determining the article's relevance to your topic:


To determine relevance, ask these questions:

  • Is the article sufficiently broad to address the issue you are discussing?
  • If the article is broad, can its conclusions be applied to your subject? (e.g. an article about drinking habits of students at large universities applies to your subject of drinking habits of CU students)
  • If the article is narrow, can its conclusions be generalized to your subject? (e.g. an article about volleyball players and eating disorders at Honalee State University can be applied to your subject of eating disorders in women college athletes)


The key difference between scholarly and popular magazine articles is the required peer review process for scholarly journal articles.


Peer review is a publishing process in academic fields. Before editors decide whether to accept an article for publication in a scholarly journal, they need to send this article to other researchers in this article's subject area to do a review. This process is called "peer review" because the author's peers (i.e. other scholars) decide if the article should be published.


Below are some of the characteristics of scholarly journals and popular magazines and newspapers.


Type of Periodical Scholarly Journal Popular Magazine or Newspaper

Original Research

In-Depth Analysis

Current Events / Popular topics / Interviews
Not original research by the author
Writing Level Technical language
Assumes college education
Simple, elementary language
Assumes only 8th grade education!
Authors Researchers, Academics
Experts in the subject they are writing about
Not subject experts
Sources Almost always has a list of Works Cited
Extensive documentation
Rarely documents sources
Documentation vague (e.g. "A study was done...")
Published By Scholarly societies, University Presses Commercial publishers
Pictures and Paper Few or no photographs
Includes charts or tables
Regular white paper
Many photographs and pictures
Glossy paper
Examples Sociological Review
Journal of Asian Studies
Journal of Philosophy
People Weekly
Sports Illustrated
New York Times
Denver Post
Length Tends to be longer Tends to be shorter