Getting started in Art and Art History
To research topics in art and art history, a wide variety of library resources are necessary. Art research encompasses the study of painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, design, graphic arts, and it draws on other subjects such as geography, anthropology, and mass media.
Navigate through the tabs at the top of this guide to discover and gain access to reference encyclopedias and dictionaries, books, journals, research databases, and web resources. You will also find helpful tips and strategies to search on databases and evaluate information you find over the internet. The tab for Image Resources offers links to many online sources of images which you can incorporate in your coursework.
***Several significant portions of this guide were created by Claire Dannenbaum and Dan Macnaughtan of Lane Community College.
Hans Bellmer, The Hand Hat (from the book, Le Surréalisme), circa 1947. Image courtesy of ARTstor.
Develop a research plan
Develop your research topic.
What are the key concepts of your topic? Can you broaden or narrow your focus? Consider the following:
- time period
- specific event
- specific people
Does your topic overlap other disciplines such as anthropology, geography or political science?
Think of 2- 3 questions that you will need to explore.
- Think about the history of your topic, and its categories.
- Who are the key people? What did they do? Why did it happen?
Under each question, think about the following aspects:
- What do you already know about your topic?
- What do you need to learn to better understand it?
- What would provide the answer to these questions?
Consider your audience.
- Who will read your paper?
- Why will it interest them?
- What will be new to them?