Designing a Research Strategy

Designing a Library Research Strategy

This outline of a research strategy is intended as a general guide, to help you find what you
need with greater efficiency. It can be varied depending on specific needs, but remember to
consider these basic steps.

I. Select your TOPIC; limit it to a manageable scope.

II. Consult an ENCYCLOPEDIA (general or subject specific) for an overview of your
topic. Note keywords or subject terms that can be used in your search. Also, look
for bibliographies at the end of encyclopedia articles. They will lead you to
additional sources of information.

III. Use DICTIONARIES (general or subject specific) for unknown or obscure
words and terms, and for related terms.

IV. REFINE your topic. Using sources gathered so far, clarify the scope and depth of
the subject or problem you want to research.

VI. SEARCH for books and periodical articles.
          A. PERIODICALS generally provide more up-to-date and detailed
          information. Locate appropriate periodical and newspaper indexes and/or
          abstracts, then search these databases.

          B. BOOKS and EXHIBITION CATALOGS. Using the author and title
          citations you found through the steps above, perform author and/or title
          searches in The Library Catalog. You can also perform a subject heading
          search if you know the subject heading or a keyword search if you do not.

VII. FOOTNOTES and BIBLIOGRAPHIES. For additional sources check the
footnotes and bibliographies of the books and articles that you found most useful.

VIII. After locating periodical articles and books, you are ready to consider additional
sources to supplement and help you to evaluate your data.

     A. BIOGRAPHICAL SOURCES should be consulted for information on names
     discovered in your search.

     B. BOOK REVIEWS assist when evaluating material.

     C. DISSERTATIONS are indexed by subject in Dissertations and Theses: Full-Text
     and are available digitally or through interlibrary loan if not held by the
     University of Texas Libraries.

     D. OTHER SOURCES include non-book material, such as IMAGES AND
     DOCUMENTS; and PERSONAL INTERVIEWS, to name a few.

IX. For evaluating and critiquing art, look for the following recommended ART
RESEARCH GUIDES (see the list in the menu to the right).

X. To polish your writing consult one of these WRITING AIDS or PUBLICATION
MANUALS. (see the list in the menu to the right).

Art Research Guides

The following guides are helpful for evaluating and critiquing art.

Barnet, Sylvan. A Short Guide to Writing About Art. 10th ed. New York: Pearson/Longman, 2011.

Carrier, David. Writing about Visual Art. New York: Allworth Press, 2003.

D’Alleva, Anne. How to Write Art History. London: Laurence King, 2006.

Gray, Carole. Visualizing research: a guide to the research process in art and design.
Aldershot, England: Ashgate, 2004.

Jones, Lois Swan. Art Information: Research Methods and Resources. 3rd ed.
Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt, 1990.

Kleinbauer, W. Eugene. Research Guide to the History of Western Art. Chicago:
American Library Association, 1982.

Nelson, Robert S. and Richard Shiff. Critical Terms for Art History. 2nd ed.
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003.

Sayre, Henry M. Writing About Art. 6th ed. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice-Hall,

Tucker, Amy. Visual Literacy: writing about art. Boston: Mc-Graw Hill, 2002.

Writing Aids and Publication Manuals

American Psychological Association. Publication Manual of the American Psychological
Association. 6th ed. Washington D.C.: The Association, 2010.

Booth, Wayne C., Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams. Craft of Research.
2nd ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003.

Chicago Manual of Style. 16th ed. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 2010.

Gibaldi, Joseph. MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing. 2nd ed. New
York: Modern Language Association, 1998.

Strunk, William. The Elements of Style. 50th anniversary ed. New York: Pearson
Longman, 2009.

Thomas, R. Murray. Theses and Dissertations: a guide to planning, research, and writing. 2nd
ed. Thousand Oaks: Corwin Press, 2008.

Turabian, Kate L. A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations. 6th ed.
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996.

For assistance citing sources:

For assistance evaluating sources: