Archive for the ‘Research Tips’ Category

A Perfect Article Leads to More

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011


Search, in Arts and Humanizes Citation Index, for the article you have read. 

 For example:

Neff, Amy. “The Pain of ‘Compassio’: Mary’s Labor at the Foot of the Cross.Art Bulletin 80: 2 (1998), 254-273.
References: 146 Times Cited: 10

You can, then, look up, in the record, the 146 references that Amy Neff cited for her article and, in turn, 10 articles that cited hers. The assumption is that these articles address related issues.


1. Not every single article is cited;
2. Influential articles are cited more often, naturally;
3. More recent articles take time to be cited.

Me, Critique scholarly articles?

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

a person turning the page of a huge book

A systematic approach in your reading helps you consider the article critically:

1. What is the thesis?

"A good critique is really more about your own confidence as a reader than about possession of specific knowledge.”

2. What are the primary and secondary sources used? 

3. How does the author connect these sources? 

4. Does the author agree or disagree with the secondary sources?  

5. What is the main methodology in the author’s analysis and argument? (formalism or feminism in art history, for example) 

6. Is the author clear in his/her logic and presentation

7. Are the conclusions convincing

Source: A Survival Guide for Art History Students by Professor Christina Maranci
Tisch Library, Oversize: N385 .M37 2005

Come to a Search-Word Party!

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

Where & Who:
The Subject-specific databases are where scholars gather and chat about their research.

Your calling cards to join the party:

in your syllabus, course reserves, etc.

First Group of Search Words:

*People: an artist, a (literary) writer, an architect, an art historian/critic, a filmmaker/director, authors of books/articles, etc.

*Objects: buildings, works of art, movies, novels, titles of books/articles, etc.

Second Group of Search Words:

*Theoretical approaches /Theme/Genre/Style/Case Studies: post-colonialism, road films, video art, magic realism, Gothic architecture,  Museum of Fine Arts, Boston as a case study in discussing a current art museum issue, etc.

*Time/Cultural/Geographical locations, when applicable: medieval Spain, etc.

**A logical combination of any of the above elements to state their connections and contextualize your search. (Simple Tricks; Magic Results)

The Dinner Party Game:

*Use the above search words  for your initial searches in the databases.

*You will learn, through search results, scholarly discussions on your potential topic (imagine yourself listening in on the dinner party conversations among scholars in your field.).

*A search simply by names of people or titles focuses on an essential element in a topic, while opens to all possible perspectives and approaches towards a subject. From the breadth of such search results, you have the flexibility in pursuing any narrower focus that interests you.

**The dinner party image is from the Florida Center for Instructional Technology (FCIT) at USF. (

Simple Tricks; Magic Results.

Friday, July 8th, 2011


1. Quotation marks around a phrase:

Robert Smithson


2. Put an “And” in between keywords:

“Robert Smithson” and earthworks.


3. Include varied expressions :

“Robert Smithson” and (earthworks or “land art”)


Try these tricks in these two sources and see the results:

ARTbiliographies Modern