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Essay Topics For Latin American History

Excellent Argumentative Essay Topics On Latin America

Writing an argumentative essay about Latin America and related interests can be an interesting task. It depends on how much you know about the country and understanding what areas have arguments worth researching further. There are various samples of essay content you can review to develop unique ideas. It also helps to review potential sources to help you understand facts and other useful information you can include.

Finding Argumentative Elements for Your Essay Subject

Argumentative topics for content of this nature include further research and understanding of options. For Latin America interests you can research areas of the country and take notes on possible concerns and conflicts. Find news and media outlets that highlight area concerns can give insight on what to write about. You can use reference books and travel websites to get more information on potential essay topics. As you learn about the country you can find conflicts to explore. Remember, content for your paper should show both sides of the argument with a balance of evidence and viewpoints.

What to Look for in a Good Essay Topic and Example Ideas

A good essay topic will be interesting and have plenty of details to discuss. Your main idea should be solid and stands out. The topic will present an issue or claim you can defend based on knowledge known on the topic. Few seeking ideas for an argumentative essay may look toward problems the country is currently facing and draw inspiration from this aspect. Good topics relating to Latin America may looking into problems with solutions still under review such as racism concerns, treatment of women, and travel concerns to name a few. A point of interest can lead you to unique ideas worth researching further. Here are 10 writing prompts for possible topic ideas.

  1. Race relations in Brazil.
  2. Worst natural disaster in history and how it was handled by the government.
  3. Issues related to family structure.
  4. Slave relations and how they affected citizens’ rights.
  5. Culture preservation practices good or bad.
  6. Issues relating to human rights.
  7. Why workers from Latin America migrate to the United States (justified?).
  8. Why some parts of the country struggle with identity and independence.
  9. Is democracy hurting or helping Latin America as a developing nation.
  10. Do women in Latin America have fair opportunities?

In many cases it will be up to you, the researcher, to choose a Latin American Studies research topic and then refine the scope of your investigation. Of course there are many ways to approach choosing an interesting and manageable research topic. Instructors often assign (or can suggest) readings to help you think critically about important themes and questions in the field. Senior undergraduates and especially graduate students might well be asked to review the literature and/or address unresolved disciplinary problems. Investigations of this nature require a thorough examination of secondary sources (books and journal articles) in order to understand and then join the scholarly debate or "discussion".

The following techniques have been shown to help students move from having no topic or only a very broad and general topic to a manageable research question. Please keep in mind that a methodology incorporating more than one of these techniques will likely yield the most comprehensive and relevant literature review.

  • Personal Interest: It might seem obvious, but concentrate your efforts on a topic that interests you personally. Personal interest increases motivation, which in turn often predicts academic success.
  • Brainstorm: It often helps to begin the research process by identifying synonyms for major concepts, e.g. Aztec Empire = Mexica Hegemony. At least a little brainstorming for concepts and keywords (or search terms) should take place before attempting to search the Diamond catalog for books, or abstracting and indexing databases such as HLAS or HAPI for journal articles.
  • Mind Maps: Mind maps use visual cues such as color and shape to help structure and link your ideas. You might wish to view this brief video and then draw your own mind map. Download one of the many mind-mapping applications for your iPhone/iPad, or for your Android device from the Android Market.
  • Citation (or Footnote) Chasing: Footnote chasing is a popular research technique, in fact the most popular one with many scholars. Here the bibliographies of works already located in a literature search (or assigned by your instructor) are examined for additional sources containing further information. Monographs (books), journal articles, and dissertations always contain bibliographies. If possible, it is generally a good idea to examine the footnotes and bibliographies of recently published works. Footnote chasing is favored by most scholars but is not the only or even necessarily most comprehensive method for reviewing the literature on your research topic (see below).
  • Browse the Secondary Literature: Browse for possible research topics in the latest issue of a peer-reviewed journal, magazine, newspaper, or alerting service. This method can uncover important scholarly debates and up-to-the-minute political, economic, and social events. Key Latin American Studies publications, including the important Latin American Weekly Report, are listed in the Find Journals tab of this guide. This method is not particularly efficient. 
  • Consult a Reference (or Tertiary) Work: Reference works are tertiary sources -- two steps removed from the social sciences data, literary and artistic works, or first-hand historical accounts of history -- that list, index, summarize, contextualize or in some other way facilitate our understanding of and access to the primary and secondary literature. The following are all examples of reference works. Each can be profitably used to review the literature on a Latin American Studies topic or theme.
    • Abstracting and Indexing Databases: Abstracting and indexing databases are reference works that provide bibliographic citations and/or abstracts of the secondary literature of a discipline, e.g. Handbook of Latin American Studies (HLAS). If you wish to review the scholarly journal literature for a topic then such databases are the way to go. Abstracting and indexing databases employ subject headings to help researchers understand the nature of the content indexed and to pinpoint the most relevant material. Access important abstracting and indexing databases in Latin American Studies from the Find Articles - Core Databases tab of this guide.
    • Encyclopedias: Reading a scholarly encyclopedia article (or two) is one of the best ways to quickly and efficiently lay the foundation for your research. Browsing and/or keyword searching authoritative encyclopedia databases such as Credo Reference can help immensely, both in terms of choosing a topic and then narrowing it down to a manageable size and scope. Examples of other reference databases can be found on the Reference Shelf tab of this guide.
    • Bibliographies: A bibliography is a systematic list of works written on a given subject, or that share one or more common characteristics of language, form, period, place of publication, author, and so on. A bibliography can be comprehensive, encompassing for example all of the arts of Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, or selective, covering only the scholarly literature on Maya archaeology.
    • Historiographical Essays: The term historiography defies simple definition, but at its core implies a concern for the examination of all aspects of historical scholarship, including especially the writing of history and the methods of historical research. It can refer to a single scholarly work or body of historical literature, e.g. the historiography of World War I. Historiographical essays provide the context within which contemporary historians continue a "discussion" begun by earlier scholars. There exists no better way to identify important works and critical debates on your historical topic. Blackwell, Cambridge, and Oxford companions online are particularly useful in this regard (the titles in all three series are considered reference works), but keep in mind that many important historiographical essays are published in the secondary journal literature. See also the Historiography tab of the main History guide for instructions on how to search the Diamond catalog to find book-length historiographical works.

Further clarification and definitions: ODLIS: Online Dictionary of Library and Information Science

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