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Spanish Linguistics Guide: Writing Your Research Paper

In this guide you will find access to resources such as linguistic journals, linguistics websites, corpora, linguistics analysis tools, and grammar books.

Developing your Topic

Narrowing Your Topic

Pop music in the US ⇒ Too big

The linguistic expression of pop music in the US  ⇒ It is still too big.

Language contact presence in pop music in the US ⇒ Narrowing it to language contact

Bilingualism in Latinx pop music in the US ⇒ Narrowing it to bilingualism and Latinx pop music

Topic:  Spanish language-infused pop music in the US: from code-switching to cultural appropriation

Activity: Your Research Topic

Research Question

For your "Projecto Final" you will research a topic related to Spanish and Spanish speakers in the United States. Your research question will be related to your topic. This question usually answers a matter not covered by previous scholarship.

Developing Research Questions: Your Purpose

Consider where your questions will lead you. Will your questions:

  • Compare and contrast
    • How are the uses and attitudes of Spanish in Colorado differ for heritage speakers and native Spanish speakers?
  • Associate your topic with another 
    • How did a topic happen in relation to another topic?
    • What are the representations of Spanish and Spanish speakers in the media?
    • What are the linguistic implications of Spanish in contact with other varieties and languages in the U.S.?
  • Interpret the state of your topic
    • Explain the significance of X and how you can measure this significance
    • What is the impact of bilingualism (Spanish-English) in educational contexts in the Boulder-Denver area?

  • Explore possibilities or outcomes
    • What are the consequences of X
    • How does X affect Y
    • How does Spanish contact with other varieties of languages affect the linguistic expression of musical artists in the US?
  • Lead to a call for action or change
    • What are the recommendations you presented in your paper?
  • Argue for a particular stance
    • Present opposing views and argue in favor or against a view
    • What are the pros and cons of the Spanish language use in public and commercial signs as a mark for the linguistic landscape of the Longmont-Denver area?


Definition: An abstract summarizes the most important content of your paper sequentially, highlighting your research topic, the reason for your study, a basic description of your methodology, and important findings. Good abstracts use the active voice in the past tense and rely on brief but well-structured sentences.

Format: Abstracts are usually formatted in one block paragraph without indentations. Avoid unnecessary phrases, quotes, citations, or ambiguous content, and follow the publishing journal of choice for specific rules. Remember, your abstract should point to the key contents of your paper.

Parts of an Abstract

  1. Establish the topic of your study and why it is relevant (elevator pitch)
  2. Briefly refer to the methodology you followed
  3. State key findings from your study
  4. State main conclusions and implications
There are Three Types of Abstracts Used in Academic Writing

Descriptives Abstracts:

A descriptive abstract is usually formatted as a short paragraph summarizing your paper's main points and focusing on outlining the work. Sometimes these abstracts include the reason behind the study, a concise description of the methodology, and the scope of the study. Descriptive abstracts do not usually refer to the results or conclusions.

Informative Abstracts:

An informative abstract is usually formatted as a 300-words paragraph containing the purpose of the study, a brief methodology, the scope, and the summary of the results and conclusions. The author can also add recommendations.

Critical Abstracts:

A less used format is the critical abstract, a rather long paragraph containing a summary, main findings, and comparisons with other papers on the same topic. 


The abstract will inform readers what your paper is about and if it is a good fit for their research purposes. 


See also:

University of Southern California - The Abstract

Avondale University - Writing an Abstract

Kent State University -Preparing Academic Presentations Writing Abstracts

Royal Roads University - Types of Academic Writing

Consortium Library - Abstracts



Go to this Jamboard, read the abstract, and find the elements of its construction.
2023 Padlet
2024 Jamboard 


Keywords and Related Terms

Bilingual Searches:

The following search samples relate to different topics:

  • Spanish heritage speakers AND attitudes AND Colorado
  • Spanglish OR code-switching AND Denver
  • Spanish speakers AND U.S. AND identity OR race (gender, sexuality, social class, immigration status, etc.)
  • Spanish AND media AND representation
  • espanol AND televisión AND representación 
  • Spanish language AND Latinx AND identity
  • Español AND latinx AND identidad
  • Lengua de Herencia AND identidad Latinx
  • Heritage speakers AND native Spanish differences
  • Latinx AND lenguaje AND ideología
  • Multilingüismo AND Educación OR salas OR aulas
  • Spanish language contact AND varieties
  • Alternancia de códico OR code-switching
  • Spanish language contact AND leveling OR accommodation OR code-switching OR borrowing 
  • Préstamo lingüístico OR cruce lingüístico 
  • Spanish language contact AND simplification
  • Spanish language change AND US AND linguistics factor
  • Spanish language change AND US AND social factors
  • Latinx AND ideologías de lenguaje


MLA Overview






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 Learn more:  Citing Electronic Sources

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