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ARTH 399 Special Topics in Art History: Introduction

Developing a Thesis

As you conduct research, and learn more about your chosen city and work/monument, you'll learn that scholars may have different approaches and arguments. You will discover questions raised about the city and work/monument, as well as patterns of evidence that will give you and understanding of the state of art historical research, and possibly indicate new approaches to the material. The results form the foundation of your thesis statement.

Research Tactics

Get organized by keeping a record of what you've searched along with keywords and subject terms. If you need help organizing your time, search Google for an assignment calculator.

If you are unfamiliar with your topic, establish basic facts, including artist, alternate tiles of the work, dates,  period, etc. Use Oxford Art Online or any overview (can do a general search in Oxford Reference).

Start with Primo to find books and selected articles and request books not owned by the library. Also search Worldcat for even more books and sources. Request those books through interlibrary loan. Note: ebooks may not be borrowed.

Use Google Books to search inside a book and then search Primo to borrow the book.

Use bibliographies and reviews of books to gain an understanding of the state of current scholarship on your topic.

Try cited searching. One very useful feature of Google Scholar is its ability to allow for easily finding subsequent articles which have cited a particular article that you have located.

Go beyond JSTOR. Search multiple databases listed in this guide for the most current scholarly conversations for journals. Limit searches to scholarly or peer reviewed journals.When you find relevant articles, review the bibliography for even more articles.  Use interlibrary loan to request articles not available full text.

Research is international in scope and you will discover many sources are written in other languages. If you do not have a reading knowledge of the language, keep in mind that the source may still be useful for illustrations and the bibliography.

Liaison Librarian Information

Angela Weaver's picture
Angela Weaver
Collins Library 131