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Art History Research at Yale: How to Research Art

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Starting Your Research

Before you begin conducting research, it’s important to ask yourself a few questions:

1. What’s my topic? Review your assignment closely and choose an appropriate topic. Is this topic about a single artist or an art movement? Is it a study of one work or a body of works? How long is the paper—will you need a basic overview, or detailed analysis? Guiding questions such as these can help you determine what the best approach to your research will be. If you aren’t sure where to start, you can ask your professor for guidance, and you can always contact an Arts Librarian using their contact information on this page.

2. Which sources are best for my topic? With infinite time, you would want to read everything available, but there are often resources that are more applicable depending on your research topic. How to Find Art Resources provides more detailed information about choosing helpful sources based on general topics. Watch this video for brief instructions on how to find information on a work of art at the Yale University Art Gallery.

3. How will I manage and cite my sources? When you turn in your paper or presentation, you will need to provide citations in keeping with the preferred citation style. Keeping on top of your citations as you work through your research will save time and stress when you are finishing your project. All Yale students have access to tools to keep citations organized, generate a bibliography, and create footnotes/endnotes. For a quick guide, see How to Cite Your Sources, and more guidance is available on the Citation Management guide.

Related Guides for Art History Research at Yale

Arts Librarian

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Tess Colwell
Arts Librarian for Research Services, Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library