The purpose of this guide is to introduce you to the variety of research sources available to you in the field of art at Queens College Libraries. Research in the arts continues to evolve with technology, though many invaluable resources remain in printed material. This guide provides an overview of resources available. Please be sure to also visit the non-circulating Reference, Folio, and Periodicals collections, as well as the circulating Stacks collection in the Art Library to take full advantage of the rich arts resources at Queens College.
In your own college writing, you will get best results if you choose a topic that not only works within your assignment's parameters but that genuinely interests you. To orient yourself in a new area, you may gather background information on your topic in a specialized encyclopedia, consult a relevant reference publication for an overview and/or a bibliography, and check unfamiliar terms in an appropriate dictionary. Then, once you have reviewed and understand the basics of your subject select a topic and devise a thesis statement, something that you want to prove or disprove.
Next, you will search for published scholarship and possibly also for primary sources. Your research goal usually will be to identify and locate these resources through using library catalogs (for books, media, print journal titles, and some e-resources), databases (for journal, magazine, and newspaper articles, media), and indexes. In addition, you may also find useful information from scholarly and professional associations and organizations and from web gateways.
Throughout the research process, be prepared to adjust your topic if needed — narrow, broaden, or modify it — in response to your interest and growing knowledge, and in keeping with the assignment. As you proceed, you will continue to formulate a focus, and form and develop a specific argument.
Remember to carefully select the sources for your topic, evaluate their appropriateness and accuracy, and think critically about the author's arguments. It usually is best to start writing early and continue with research as you proceed. When in doubt about the progress of your research, check with your instructor and/or the art librarian.
In writing, use the results of your research responsibly (credit sources) and effectively, and be sure to use the style manual your instructor requires to help organize your bibliographic notes and correctly cite your sources.
Writing About Art is a very informative and easy to navigate website created by Marjorie Munsterberg who has a book with the same title. These books below are basic instruction books and will guide you through the process of writing about art.