Augustana College printing logo

SPAN 328: Spanish for Medical Use (Prof. Jeff Renaud)

Research PaperInformational PamphletCiting Sources - Questions?

Research Paper

The Assignment: "Select a Spanish-speaking country ... and write a formal, investigative paper on its healthcare issues."

Librarian's Note: All of the resources that were useful for the informational pamphlet are still "fair game" for this assignment, so you may wish to return to that section. My advice below will focus on anything that is different or additional. I'll also comment on finding sources in Spanish.

Web Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Go to "More CDC Topics" and select "Global Health," then choose a country. On the CDC's main page, click "En Español" in the top right-hand corner to access the Spanish-language website.

World Health Organization
Choose "Countries" to access individual country profiles. On the main page, click "Español" in the top right-hand corner for the Spanish-language website.

Pan American Health Organization
Choose "Countries and Centers" for country and regional profiles. Many of these are in Spanish.

Google Scholar
Great source for open-access journal articles and articles in institutional repositories (like Digital Commons); plus, you might pick up an article or two that wasn't indexed by our databases. Google Scholar also lets you "forward search" an article to determine what other, later publications cited it. To do this, seach the title of the article, then follow the "Cited by" link under the citation. Forward searching can be especially useful if you find a relevant article that is a little too old for your purposes.

Article Databases

For this project, you can make more use of the library's world languages subject page:

Go to: Library website --> Databases --> English; World Languages, Literatures, & Cultures; Classics --> World Languages, Literatures, & Cultures

Here are some databases I recommend from that page:

HAPI (Hispanic American Periodicals Index)
A resource for locating journal articles about Central America, South America, the Caribbean, Mexico, Brazil, and Latinos in the United States. You can enter search terms in either English and Spanish. I recommend starting at the Advanced Search page, where you can limit your results to Spanish if you wish.

PRISMA (Publicaciones y Revistas Sociales y Humanísticas)
PRISMA is a source for full-text journal articles in the social sciences and humanities on Hispanic and Latin America and the Caribbean. Here, too, you can search in either Spanish or English, and/or you can limit to Spanish-language sources on the main search page.

This is a full-text database covering a wide variety of subject areas. Go to Advanced Search and narrow down to subject areas like Latin American Studies, Health Policy, Public Health, etc. JSTOR also has a Spanish-language limiter.

Additional helpful databases:

  • Those on the public health subject page, especially the databases I recommended for the first project
  • Sociological Abstracts (on the Databases A-Z list)
  • PAIS (Public Affairs Information Service) (on the Databases A-Z list)

Where's the Full-Text?

**Help! My article isn't available in full-text!**

An article that is not full-text in one database may be available elsewhere in Augustana's collection. If not, you can order it from another library. Follow these steps to obtain a copy of the article:

  1. On the library website, click "Journals and Magazines." Search the title of the journal in which the article you want was published. The results will tell you whether Augustana has access to the publication, what date range we have, and what format so you can obtain your article.

    If you see here that Augustana does not have access to the journal and/or the date of the journal that you need, go to step 2.

  2. On the library website, click "Interlibrary Loan." Login (or create an account if you don't yet have one), choose "Article" from the menu, and fill out the form. In some of the library's databases, there is even a direct link to ILL within the article record. You can also use your interlibrary loan account to order book chapters or entire books if they are not available through I-Share.

Informational Pamphlet

The Assignment: "Research, design and create an informational pamphlet (such as those found in clinics and family practitioners' offices) on a disease or healthcare issue of your choosing."

My (the librarian's) advice: The types of sources you choose for this project should probably reflect the type of information you need to convey in the pamphlet. Many journal articles in public health and medicine will reflect the results of highly focused research projects and may not, as such, be the best sources for a document that intends to provide up-to-date, accurate, and accessible overview information for a patient. What kinds of sources will accomplish that? Deciding on the answer is your research challenge for this project.

The resources for your informational pamphlet are divided up into four sections:

  1. Reference resources
  2. Web resources
  3. Article databases
  4. Additional sources in Spanish

1. Reference Resources

In the reference collection on the library's 2nd floor, browse in the call numbers beginning with RA to find a good selection of public health-related encyclopedias and dictionaries.

For additional encyclopedia and dictionary articles on your topic, search Gale Virtual Reference, one of our electronic databases:

Go to: Library website --> Electronic Reference

GVR is basically an electronic supplement to the print reference collection; it, too, includes a fair amount of public health information.

2. Web Resources

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website will be a perfect place to start, especially if you are assuming an audience within the United States. The CDC is not only an essential source of information on infectious diseases, but it has information on other medical conditions as well. Consider browsing under "Diseases & Conditions" or typing some keywords in the search box.

You might also try:

The World Health Organization arose from the United Nations and contributes to health efforts across the globe. Try browsing under "Health topics" or "Data," or searching in the search box.

The Pan American Health Organization is the WHO's regional office for the Americas and performs a similar function to WHO within those two continents. Here, too, you can browse under the main headings, or conduct a keyword search.

3. Article Databases

Tredway Library has a public health subject page, where you can find all of our relevant databases:

Go to: Library website --> Databases --> Biology, Chemistry, Pre-Health, & Public Health --> Public Health

Browse through these resources to identify those best suited to your topic.

Some specific ideas:

Ebsco Databases in Public Health will give you a variety of options.

  • Consumer Health Complete and Health Source - Consumer Edition are both likely to be useful
  • Add CINAHL Complete and/or Health Source: Nursing/Academic Edition for nursing information
  • Depending on your topic, you might try Environment Complete and/or PSYCInfo
  • Including Academic Search Complete will get you newspapers and magazines in addition to academic research articles

Here are some things to keep in mind as you search the Ebsco databases:

  • You can limit your results to articles in Spanish, if you wish
  • Many journal articles--those that report the results of highly specialized studies--may not be ideal for this project, because they will be so highly specific.
  • If you do want scholarly research articles, consider looking for review articles. Review articles provide an overview of all recent research on a particular topic and make an attempt to sum up the current state of knowlege on that topic. As such, they could be more useful to you than articles that report the results of single, highly specific study.

Here are some additional, non-academic databases I recommend:

CQ Researcher is a database of in-depth reports, written by journalists, on major issues in the news. Search or browse here to see whether an up-to-date report exists on your topic. If there is one, you will have a gold mine of information, plus a bibliography of additional relevant sources.

If your topic has been the subject of legislation in Washington, D.C., try searching CQ Weekly, which provides objective reporting about goings-on on Capitol Hill.

Search LexisNexis Academic for current newspaper articles from the United States and countries across the world. Click "Advanced" under the search box to limit by date (plus some other options). When your search results come up, open the "Geography" menu (on the left-hand side of your screen) to limit by location and/or the "Language" menu to determine whether Spanish-language results are available.

4. Additional Sources in Spanish

Tredway Library also has a subject page for Spanish:

Go to: Library website --> Databases --> English; World Languages, Literatures, & Cultures; Classics --> World Languages, Literatures, & Cultures

Databases here that could be useful include HAPI, PRISMA, and JSTOR, all of which will allow you to limit to articles in Spanish. While many of the resources on the Spanish subject page will become more relevant when you do the second project, they're worth considering now, too.

Citing Sources

Cite your sources using APA style. Online guides to APA are available on the library's website:

Go to: Libarary website --> Citing Sources (under "Research Tools")

A copy of the complete APA style book also "lives" at the research help desk on 2nd floor; just ask the person on duty if you can borrow it.


You are welcome to contact me at with any questions about your research for this class. You can also find me at the research help desk on the 2nd floor of the library off and on during the week.

Or talk to anyone you find on duty at the research help desk: in-person, or via phone (309-794-7206), email (, or the "Ask an Augustana Librarian" chat box on the library's main page.

Page created by research & instruction librarian Stefanie Bluemle. Updated April 2017.