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Queen's University Library

Art: Research Strategy for Art

Research Strategy - checklist

  1. Think of keywords or concepts to define your topic.
  2. Find background information by looking up concepts in dictionaries, encyclopaedias, bibliographies, catalogues, etc.
  3. Read Course Reserve material and follow up on references.
  4. Search QCAT by Author, Title, Keyword(s), and Subjects for books, journals, audiovisual materials, exhibition catalogues, theses, conferences, government documents.
  5. Search Art Databases for appropriate journal articles. Check QCAT under Journal Title Exact to see if Queen's has the journal in print or electronically. Follow up on article references.
  6. Search for journal articles in interdisciplinary databases related to your topic. For ex: CBCA for Canadian art coverage, Dissertations and Theses, Gender Studies Database, JSTOR, Project MUSE, etc.
  7. Select and evaluate web resources, many of which have been provided through Art Websites and other QUL web pages.
  8. Analyze, and evaluate your sources, write and edit your paper, and not least, document your sources as you find them in order to compile your bibliography. Begin research early to order necessary articles through Interlibrary Loan (RACER).
  9. Don't forget you can always ask a Subject Liaison Librarian for help.

Find Background Information

  • Search QCAT for the artist's name as author or subject (last name, space, first initial), or as keyword (place name in direct order between quotes, or search first and last name separated by and) to see if the Library has exhibition catalogues or art historical materials containing the artist's work.
  • Use bio-bibliographical indexes to artists e.g. Grove Art Online . Connect to Biographical Dictionaries for a list of other index suggestions
  • Search QCAT for topics by art form, style, country and/or time period under appropriate subject headings or keyword combinations. Information about artists may also appear in un-indexed anthologies under these types of headings. For example:
    • Art, Abstract
    • Art, Baroque
    • Art, Italian--17th century
    • Impressionism--Art

For Interpretation, Criticism, and Analysis

  • For critical essays and art criticism in general, search "Art Criticism" as a subject in QCAT
  • Search appropriate indexes and databases by artist, topic (subject/keyword/keyword Boolean), art form/style, geographic place, or time period to find articles or images published in scholarly journals, edited books, conferences, magazines or newspapers - e.g.:
    • AATA Online
    • Art Abstracts
    • Art Index
    • ArtBibliographiesModern
    • ARTstor
    • Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals
    • Bibliography of the History of Art
    • BCIN: the bibliographic database of the Conservation Information Network
    • CBCA: Canadian Business and Current Affairs
    • Gender Studies Database
    • Index of Christian Art
    • International Bibliography of Art
    • International Medieval Bibliography
    • ITER: Gateway to the Middle Ages & Renaissance
    • Oxford Art Online (encompasses Grove Art Online)

Find Exhibition Catalogues

  • Exhibition catalogues are useful visual sources of an artist's work, and sometimes the only source for an image of a work held in a private collection. Exhibition catalogues are accessible through QCAT and found in the Art Collection.
  • Search QCAT for exhibition catalogues by Keyword Boolean, combining terms such as artist's or gallery name, city where exhibition held, school (e.g. Impressionism), form/process (e.g. sculpture), etc. with the truncated word exhibition?.
    • rembrandt and agnes and kingston
    • colville and exhibition?
    • "arts and crafts movement" and exhibition?
    • sculpture? and renaissance and exhibition?
  • Smaller and non-commercially published exhibition catalogues are shelved in the Art Collection alphabetically by City, Gallery and Year: e.g. Toronto : Art Gallery of Ontario, 1998. Look for this information in the publisher field on QCAT.

Reviews of Exhibitions

  • Reviews of exhibitions can be found in Art databases and appropriate newspapers. Some possible newspaper indexes are:
    • CBCA: Canadian Business and Current Affairs (for references to selected Canadian newspapers)
    • Globe & Mail (1844 to within 3-4 years of current date)
    • Factiva (for current Globe & Mail articles)
    • New York Times (1851-2009)
    • Toronto Star (1894- to within 3 years of current date)

For Information About Artists

  • For biographical information search QCAT under individual's name as a subject, or try general subject headings such as "Painters", "Sculptors" or "Women Artists". Examples:

Last Updated: 01 October 2014