Paper and Presentation Research: Research Basics
The Research Cycle
Looking, Thinking, Writing
A selection of Art & Art History guidebooks from the Marriott Library's collection: you will find others nearby on the stacks!
1. Understand Your Assignment
What is your assignment?
Begin with a good understanding of what your professor is asking for. Consult the library's collection of guidebooks for LOOKING, THINKING, and WRITING about art -- several are highlighted in the left sidebar.
2. Develop a Research Strategy
What is your research strategy?
Research is a process often involving revision and reworking your efforts to locate supporting literature and images. The process requires patience and is best supported with careful management.
- What is your topic? Do you know enough about this topic to hold a 60-second conversation with a friend? If not, you need to gather background information to refine your topic.
- What specifically do you want to know about the topic? What question or questions do you need to answer?
- What keywords, concepts, or subject terms best describe your research topic and /or research question(s)? What search options are available to you in the database you have chosen to search? (REFER TO TUTORIAL BELOW.)
- How are you going to keep track or manage your research?
3. Identify Types of Information
What type of information are you looking for?
The type of information you are looking for often depends on the questions you are asking, or have been instructed to ask. Thus, you will want to familiarize yourself with the information that can be found in a variety of information resources – for instance, books, periodical literature, images, and newspaper articles.
If you’d like to learn more about these types of information resources – that is, what they are, what kind of information they generally provide, and how they might fit into your research strategy, consult the attached tutorial:
4. Evaluate Information
How do you know if an information resource is appropriate for your assignment?
When you search for information -- whether on the open Web or in library databases, you're going to find lots of it . . . but is it good information? You will have to determine that for yourself, and the CRAAP Test can help.
The CRAAP Test, developed by the library at Chico State University, is a list of questions to help you evaluate the information you find. Different criteria will be more or less important depending on your situation or need. Give it a try!
5. Cite Your Sources
How will you cite your sources?
It is important that you cite the sources you consult and use for your research and creative projects for several reasons:
- to avoid legal problems associated with the misuse of copyrighted materials;
- to comply with the University of Utah Student Code, which specifically addresses ethical practices and plagiarism; and
- to provide your reviewers, be it your professor, your peers, or anyone else, with the sources that helped you build your paper or project.
The Marriott Library provides University of Utah students with a variety of tools and resources for managing bibliographies and preparing appropriate citations.
You will find more information under Tools (Cite, Bibliography, & More).