The University of Texas

Architectural History

Literature Reviews

A literature review provides you with an overview of existing literature (books, articles, dissertations, conference proceedings, and other sources) in the chosen area. When embarking on a research project begging wth a literature review will allow you to:

  • Gather information about your topic, including the sources used by others who have previously conducted research
  • Find out if your specific research question has already been answered
  • Find out what areas or perspective on your topic have not yet been covered by others
  • Analyze and evaluate existing information

The literature review will assist you in considering the validity and scope of your research question so that you can do the necessary revision and fine tuning to it. This will provide the base need to formulate and present strong arguments to justify your chosen research topic.

Other resources:

  • How to Write a Literature Review (University of California, Santa Cruz)
  • Groat, Linda N and David Wang. Architectural Research Methods. Hoboken: Wiley, 2013. NA 2000 G76 2013
  • Hart, Chris. Doing a Literature Review: Releasing the Social Science Research Imagination. London: Sage Publications, 1998. H 62 H2566 1998
  • Machi, Lawrence A. The Literature Review: Six Steps to Success. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Corwin Press, 2009. LB 1047.3 M33 2009


  • Després, Carole. "The meaning of home: literature review and directions for future research and theoretical development." Journal of architectural and planning research 8, no.2, (Summer 1991): 96-155.
  • Steiner, Frederick R. "Philadelphia, the holy experiment: A literature review and analysis." Ekistics, 49, (1982): 298-305.

Case Studies

A case study is a research strategy that uses "an empirical inquiry that investigates a phenomenon or setting" in its real life context. (Adapted from Groat, Architectural Research Methods, 346).

Other resources:

  • George, Alexander L. Case Studies and Theory Development in the Social Sciences. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2005. H 61 G46 2005
  • Groat, Linda N and David Wang. Architectural Research Methods. Hoboken: Wiley, 2013. NA 2000 G76 2013
  • Yin, Robert K. Case Study Research: Design and Methods. 3rd ed. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Sage Publications, 2003. H 62 Y56 2003
  • Flyvbjerg, Bent. "Five Misunderstandings About Case Study Research." Qualitative Inquiry, 12, no. 2 (April 2006): 219-245.


  • Brooker, Graeme. Context + Environment. Lausanne, Switzerland: AVA Academia, 2008. NA2850 .B76 2008
  • Colomina, Beatriz. Domesticity of War. Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press, c2007. NA 7208 C589 2007
  • Jaeggi, Annemarie. Fagus : industrial culture from Werkbund to Bauhaus. New York : Princeton Architectural Press, c2000. HD 9787 G34 F345 2000

Top Indexes and Databases

  • Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals
    Indexes more than 2,000 periodicals published worldwide on architecture and design, archaeology, city planning, interior design, and historic preservation.
  • Bibliography of the History of Art
    Covers European and American art from late antiquity to the present and contemporary art worldwide.
  • Oxford Art Online
    Coverage includes architecture from prehistory to the present. Entries include lists of recommended readings, and links to images and related web sites.
  • Academic Search Complete
    A comprehensive scholarly, multi-disciplinary full text database.
    Includes archives of over 1,000 leading academic journals across the humanities, social sciences, and sciences, as well as select monographs and other materials valuable for academic work. The entire corpus is full-text searchable.
  • Ulrich's Periodical Directory Online
    Provides information about journals and magazines, including where each title is indexed.


  • LexisNexis
    Academic Full text of more than 350 newspapers from the U.S. and around the world, many same day of publication, including extensive archives for many titles.
  • Early American Newspapers
    Includes more than 1,000 U.S. historical newspapers published after 1690, such as Dallas Morning News (1885 – 1977).

Archives and Libraries:

  • ArchiveGrid
    Provides access to collections in thousands of libraries, museums, and archives that have contributed nearly a million collection descriptions.
  • Archive Finder (formerly ArchiveUSA)
    Directory of archives and manuscript collections in the United States with descriptions of a repository's holdings.
  • WorldCat@UT
    Online union catalog describing the collections of thousands of libraries around the world.

Archival Collections and Primary Sources

You can find this and other lists of databases sorted by type when go to:

Research Tools > Find Articles Using Databases > Databases by Type > Archival Collections and Primary Sources

Other relevant primary sources freely available:


  • ARTstor
    Comprised of over a million digital images of visual material encompassing artistic and historical traditions across many time periods and cultures, including architectural drawings. The concistent high quality of the images and information accompanying them makes these a preferred source for images.
  • Catena: Digital Archive of Historic Gardens + Landscapes
    A typologically organized archive of digital images with accompanying educational materials. The initial component of Catena is built around the villa, an important landscape type in garden history. Serves as an educational tool for teachers and scholars of landscape history affiliated with schools and universities.

    For more on images, visit the School of Architecture Visual Resource Collection

Other Relevant Resources

  • WorldCat@UT
    Online union catalog describing the collections of thousands of libraries around the world.
  • Google Books
    Search engine for books and journals digitized by Google and digital editions from many publishers, note that it is limited to digital/digitized materials. Use advanced search to search by title.
  • Google Scholar
    Search engine for academic literature, note that it only search a small fraction of what is available through specialized databases. Particularly useful to find articles and books that cite a particular article/book.
  • Alexander Architectural Archive
    This repository, part of the Architecture & Planning Library, has over 90 collections of material preserved to enrich and serve our architectural heritage. Holdings include any type of document involved in the management of a firm, the development of a design through the finished product, and the reflection of lives of architects, landscape architects, planners, designers, preservationists, historians, professors, and businesses in the industry.
  • Center for American History
    This research center’s archival, artifact, and library collections contain historical treasures documenting key themes in Texas and U.S. history.
  • Historical Maps - UT Libraries
    Digitized maps from the Map Collection, includes US cities and a link to historical maps on other Web sites.

Architecture & Planning Library Primary Sources:

  • Microfiche sets
    • The Nineteenth Century Books on Art and Architecture.Cambridge : Chadwyck-Healey, 1997. MCFICHE 17744
      2,445 books sourced from the National Art Library at the Victoria and Albert Museum, The British Library and the Bodleian Library. The catalogue is searchable online.
    • The Fowler Collection of Early Architectural Books. New Haven, Conn. : Research Publications, 1979. FILM 19050.
      Based on Johns Hopkins University's Fowler Architectural Collection and subsequent additions to it. The collection includes rare primary source materials and other books by important architects from the end of the 15th through the end of the 18th century. In addition to works by such Italian Renaissance architects as Alberti, Vignola, Palladio, and Serlio, the collection contains works by English, French, and German architects. Also included are volumes of plates and blockprints of contemporary designs of buildings temples, tombs, and gardens.
    • American Architectural Books: Based on the Henry-Russell Hitchcock Bibliography. FILM 5000
      A collection of books, portfolios, and pamphlets about architecture and other closely related subjects published in the U.S. between the Revolution and 1900. The emphasis of the collection is on builders and house pattern books, but a number of descriptive works such as guide books are also included. The collection is based on Henry-Russell Hitchcock's American Architectural Books and Helen Park's A List of Architectural Books Available in America before the Revolution. The microfilm edition follows the same sequence as the listing in the Hitchcock bibliography, which is alphabetical by author and then by title.
      • For the complete list of titles see:
        Hitchcock, Henry Russell. American Architectural Books; a List of Books, Portfolios, and Pamphlets on Architecture and Related Subject Published in America Before 1895. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1962. NA 2500 H583 1962 and other editions: NA 2500 H573 1976, NA 2500 H583 1946
  • Classic Treatises on Architecture (pdf)
    A list compiled by Professor Richard Cleary with examples of core texts for Architectural History.
  • Battle Hall Highlights
    This blog includes entries on titles from the library and archive such as a those under Special Collections Focus: French Architecture.

Subject Guides:

Finding Books

Use the Library Catalog:

  • start with keywords
  • once you find a good title, check the subject headings
  • you can save and/or email titles by using the Save to Clipboard button
  • search tips – truncation (*), phrases (“ “), for more tips see: Advanced Search

Find Articles from a Citation

When you have a citation for a specific article you will need to search for the title of the journal or magazine, the source. Once you find the journal, look for the year, volume and page number in the citation to locate the article.

  • e-journals: from the Research Tools drop down menu choose Find a Journal
  • print journals: from the Library Catalog choose Journal Title
    • current issues are kept in the reading room in alphabetical order
      • you can see the call number next to the title label
    • back issues are shelved at the upper stacks level (level 6) by call number

Research Tips

  • keep a research journal, include where you have looked, what you found and how you found it
  • manage your citations: use EndNote or Zotero
  • use RSS feeds and alerts to keep up with current issues and articles
  • check out the classes and other services your library has to offer!




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