You will encounter variation in the use terms "Chicano(s)", "Chicana(s)", "Chicanx" or "Chicane", "Latino(s)", "Latina(s)", "Latinx", or "Latine" "Hispanic(s)" or "Hispanic American(s)" and "Mexican American(s)" in different websites, online catalogs and databases.
Regardless of how you self-identify, you need to:
- Familiarize yourself with the historical context of each term
- There may be some terms that are specific to local geographies (Hispano in New Mexico)
- It may be necessary for you to try all of them to find the resources you need for your research
- A key word search can help to determine which terms have been used in the database you are trying to use
- The term you use in your writing should reflect the context and era that you're writing about, as well as your preference in consultation with your professor
- When quoting, you cannot change the term used
In those databases with a controlled list of vocabulary, "Chicano", "Chicana", "Chicanx", or "Chicane" will rarely be the term selected. Instead "Mexican American" or even "Hispanic American" will probably be the preferred term, but sometimes Latino and Latina is used. See example below that shows how to deal with all these word endings.
U.S. government websites have traditionally used the term "Hispanic American" in their reporting, but recently, the Census Bureau allowed people to self select the terms used to identity their ethnicity in the 2000 and Censuses. Most government agencies have begun to use some of these other terms.
Here is one of the searches I put together that attempts to cover many possibilities:
Chican* OR Latin* OR "Mexican American*" OR Hispan* -- Note the use of the * for truncation purposes and the use of "" for phrases.