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Fine and Studio Arts

Library resources (articles, books, images, videos, and more) related to fine and studio arts and art history.

Start with what you know

When doing research on art or artists, it's helpful to write out what you know, what you want to know, and what you need.

1. Start with what you know:

  • What are the assignment requirements:
  • Object title:
  • Artist/Creator:
  • Museum or collection it is in:
  • Creation date or time period:
  • Object medium:
  • Art movement(s)/style:
  • Country or group of origin:

2. Great job! You already know a lot. Now, what do you want to know? Here are some questions to ask yourself. It's helpful to write out the answers.

  • Are there any gaps in step 1 that you need?
  • What about this topic interests you the most?
  • Is there anything you are confused about?

3. Now, what do you need? This will vary based on your goals. For example, if you are trying to learn how to make ceramics your information needs will be different than if you are writing a paper on an artwork or artist. Examples of what you might need include, but aren't limited to:

  • techniques
  • lessons
  • materials 
  • history
  • reviews or analysis

Once you had identified what you know and what you need you can get started with preliminary searching.

Brainstorm keywords

Any search is only as good as the words that you use. Spend some time before you start searching brainstorming keywords and related terms.

Good keywords are usually nouns and short phrases. For example, if my research question is "How do renewable plastics impact climate change ?" I might pick renewable, plastic, and climate change.

KEYWORDS: Renewable Plastic Climate Change
Similar related terms: Green; Sustainable; Recyclable; Natural Bags; Bottles; Containers Global warming; Temperature Rise
Opposite related terms One-time use; Non-recylable; Garbage    

If you are having trouble finding keywords try an online thesaurus such as

For more help

At any time you can contact a librarian! You can also visit our Research Help Guide. There is a whole page on translating your topic into a search!

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