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SPAN 3240 - Introduction to the Study of Spanish Linguistics

A course-specific guide created to aid students in the Spanish 3240 class.

Spanish Linguistic Databases

Searching in Spanish

Because of the way non-English items are cataloged in Library Search and our databases, it's best to search for materials in a few different ways:

  • Original Spanish title: Most of the search results will be in Spanish.
  • Translated English title: Most of the search results will be in English.
  • Alternate translations: Sometimes translated title change over time or by translator. Even if it's as small as one word, it's worth searching to make sure you have found all the materials available.
  • Author: While titles of works may change due to translation, authors' names are usually consistent.

Put it together example search: Neruda, Pablo AND ("Residencia en la tierra" OR "Residence on Earth")

NOTE: Most search engines normalize characters while searching and can handle accents, umlauts, etc.

Boolean Operators and Symbols

Boolean Operators are words or symbols used to combine keywords in a search.

The most commonly used operators are: AND, OR, and NOT. When used in all caps, search engines (Library Search, databases, and Google) recognize them as a specific function. These are best described by using Venn diagrams.

Click the tabs at the top of this box to learn more about each operator.

Use AND when you want to limit your search to a specific combination of words.

If you are researching social media but receive too many results about social media users or the social media site itself when you only want information on social media about the experience of influencers, you could use AND to make sure you only receive results with both terms in the item record.

OR will expand your search to results that have one, the other, or both search terms in the item record.

If you are researching something with a name that varies depending on the context, you can use OR to make sure the system is searching all possible versions of that term. For example, some information on LGBTQ+ topics uses the term "LGBTQ" while "homosexual" is more commonly used in medical texts. If you want both, use OR to combine your terms.

Use NOT to narrow your search and eliminate instances of another term.

If you are searching with a term that is part of a larger term not relevant to your research or that term is also used in a different field, you may need to use NOT to remove results. For example, if you are searching for the portrayal of witches in the media and use the term "witch," you may receive results about The Witcher, a book, video game, and Netflix series. To remove these results, use NOT.

To use NOT in Google searches, use - (minus sign).

Though some Advanced Search features of search engines allow you to have multiple search boxes with drop-down menus for Boolean Operators, you can use multiple operators in single line searches.

( ) Just like in math, parentheses are their own groupings. This part of the search is done before it is combined with any other part of the search.

" " Quotation marks make sure that two or more words are in that exact order or are found with that exact spelling.

* An asterisk functions as truncation. It can be used to find words with multiple endings. For example, teach* will search for teach, teacher, teachers, teaches, and teaching.

? A question mark functions as a wildcard. It can be used to find words where only one letter is changed. For example, wom?n will search for women, woman, womyn, and womxn.

example advanced search using separate search boxes

example advanced search using one search box

Both of the searches above will function the same even though they are written differently.

Tips and Tricks

With all searches, be sure to always checkmark or filter your results by clicking on "Peer Reviewed." This filter is not always in the same place, but it will be there.


This is the only database that will allow you to filter by specifically "Empirical Study". Checkmark "Methodology", "Empirical Study", or any other key phrase you see that will help filter your results.

Make sure you edit the dropdown menus next to the search bars where you type in your keywords or phrases!

The dropdown will automatically be set to "Anything except full text" - we don't want that. We want to be able to have full access to all the results. Set the dropdown menu to "Anywhere" instead.

MLA International Bibliography*

When typing in a keyword or key phrase, notice in the drop down menu next to the search bars you can filter your results to "Linguistics Subject". This will narrow your results.

Communications & Mass Media

Click the dropdown menu by the search bars and select "All Text"

You don't have to limit your results to the chosen few keywords you typed in, you can select "Apply related words" and "Also search within full text articles" to get similar results that may not have the exact same words as you typed.


Make sure your access type is set to "Content I can access"

If you're willing to scroll, look for "Linguistics" under the journal filters to narrow your search.