Western Libraries

SPA 3571 Hispanic Visual Arts

Hispanic Visual Arts

By momo from Hong Kong (The Kid - Diego Rivera) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Research Process:

Step 1 - Find and develop your topic

Identify the key concepts and keywords for your question. Brainstorm and create a list of synonyms of the concepts. There are many resources that will help you find synonyms.

Find detailed information about artworks from the following art image databases:

  • ArtStor - 'Enter ArtStor Digital Library' at top of Artstor homepage

Step 2 - Determine what you already know

Incorporate your existing knowledge with what you have learned in class and from the class readings to date. Lecture notes, textbooks and readings will inform your efforts. You will have identified themes, concepts, people and events that may be important to your question. This process will help you to determine the best places to start your search.

Step 3 - Find background information

Read articles in subject encyclopedias to develop an understanding of the context for your research. Pay particular attention to relevant items in the bibliographies at the end of the encyclopedia articles.

Search using Omni (the library catalogue) (Omni instructions) to help you gather background information. Omni will locate books and articles.  Once you have done some initial background reading, however, you will want to proceed to Step 4 and find scholarly sources.

Reference Works

Oxford/Grove Art Online

Oxford Reference Online

Step 4 - Find Scholarly Sources

  • Use the Library Catalogue search to find Books
  • Use the list of databases below to find Articles

Art databases:

‚ÄčMultidisiplinary Humanities Databases:

Even more books:

Step 5 - Incorporate New Knowledge

As stated in the MLA handbook,  "“Sometimes research will confirm your ideas and opinions; sometimes it will challenge and modify them. But almost always it will help to shape your thinking.” 

Beginning with original thoughts, and being open to having these molded by new found knowledge in sources that you read is all part of the research process. 

Step 6 - Acknowledge your Sources

Though this is the last step, it is one of the most important steps of all. If an idea or example has shaped your thinking, you MUST give credit where credit is due by acknowledging your sources in a bibliography.  See below for more information on citing. 

Style Guides and Citing:

Western Libraries has created a quick guide to MLA Style

Purdue University has also produced a guide to citing sources in MLA Style that includes art works.

Interlibrary Loans (RACER)

RACER is an online Interlibrary Loan system used to search for material and place requests. To access RACER you must have an account. To create your account, you need to register. If you have already registered, simply login. Please keep in mind that your University ID number is used as your login and your password is created by you.