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Art and Art History: Home

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Art History

Maya Hotel

Esculturas Maya Hotel

Jumping Bull Fresco (Crete)

Getting Started: Tips for getting started on your research assignment

Know the assignment requirements

Sounds obvious, right? Even so, it bears repeating.

  • Read the assignment and grading rubric carefully.
  • Make sure you understand the expectations.
  • Print out the assignment.
  • Highlight the major points you need to stay on track.

For research purposes

  • Know the deadline of the assignment(s).
  • Make note of how many sources you need.
    • What kind of sources you need?
    • What type of information you need from your sources?
    • How to properly credit your sources.

Be strategic and start early 

An Internet search can quickly yield numerous results, but locating credible and relevant sources for academic research is usually a much longer, more thoughtful, nonlinear process.

Before deciding on your artworks:

  •  Ensure you can find the required number of reputable sources on those works.
  • Start your research long before selecting your artworks.

It could be very frustrating for students who select works only to find out later that not much has been written about the art or their creators.

Museums as resources

  • Visit Museum websites as an additional source to gain credible facts about your artwork, artist, or period of your choosing. 
  • Contact the museum.
    • Many museums have a library with qualified staff eager to help you through your research assignment. 

If you have questions, don't hesitate to ask.

  • Your instructor:
    • The best person to tell you about their expectations for your assignment.
  • You can also get expert research assistance from:

Select artworks you find compelling

  • You'll be spending a lot of time researching and analyzing these pieces and the artists or architects who created them.
  • Make it worth your time and effort for your own sake.
  • Your fascination for the subject will drive your motivation, leading to a richer learning experience for you and a higher-quality research paper.

Museums as resources

  • Visit Museum websites as an additional source to gain credible facts about your artwork, artist, or period of your choosing. 

Contact the museum

  • Many museums have a library with qualified staff eager to help you through your research assignment. 

Information to Gain

  • Learn more about particular artist
    • biography
    • artistic career
    • Medium(s)
  • Artwork Origins & History
    • Provenance (a record of ownership of a work of art or an antique, used as a guide to authenticity or quality)
  • Cultural Significance 
    • Influence behind the artwork
    • Region
    • Time Period

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