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ARTH 494: Types of Sources

Basic Research Methodology: Types of Sources Used in Art Research

As you encounter sources, think about the ways in which they can be used in researching and writing about art. The illustration below identifies four uses.

BEAM Framework

BEAM is a framework for thinking about the various ways in which a resource might be used to make a researched argument.

What could a writer do with this source?

Background: general information, establish facts

Exhibit: explicate, interpret, analyze

Argument: affirm, dispute, refine, extend

Method: critical lens, key terms, theory, style, perspective, discourse

 

Scholarly Journals

Definition:

Publications on focused aspects of a subject that report both retrospective and current information

Uses:

  • Scholarly research
  • Analysis

How to find:

Example:

Exhibition Catalog

Definition:

Publications which document a museum exhibit

Use:

  • Introductory essays may provide current thinking and new discoveries on the topic
  • Excellent source for images
  • May include artist biography and timeline

How to Find:

  • Search Primo using the phrase "exhibition catalogs"

Anthologies or Edited Books

Definition:

A published collection of essays written by multiple authors around a common artist or theme and compiled into a coherent work

Uses:

  • Different perspectives on a topic

How to find:

  • Search Primo by keyword or subject. Look at the book's table of contents (item details in Primo) to determine if chapters are written by different authors. The word anthology or essay are also clues.

Example:

Catalogue Raisonné

Definition:

A thorough, reasoned and systematic documentation of all works by an artist – the oeuvre – in a given medium (such as painting, sculpture, works on paper) or all media known at the time when the catalogue is prepared.

Uses:

  • Reproductions
  • Authentication
  • Critical assessment
  • Scholarly essays
  • Bibliography

How to find:

  • Search Primo using the phrase "Catalogues raisonnés"

Example:

Monographs

Definition:

A  scholarly treatise on an individual artist or subject, presenting original research or scholarship

Uses:

  • In-depth treatment of a specialized topic
  • one volume work
  • intended for an academic audience
  • Extensive bibliography

How to find:

  • Search Primo by keyword or subject. Look for works by university presses or scholarly societies

Example:

Textbooks

Definition:

Provide a survey of art history

Uses:

  • Provide general overview
  • Ideas for a topic
  • Clarify art historical periods and styles
  • Place artists within a framework of time and culture
  • Include numerous illustrations
  • Contain bibliographies

How to find:

  • Search Primo using the term "Art history"

Example: