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Simpson Library | Special Collections

ARTH 326: Romanesque and Gothic Art: Let's do research

Researching in class

Decorative art based on the Bayeau embroidery, bearing the words "The answers you seek may be found in the library"

picture generated using the Historic Tale Construction Kit

In class on February 3rd, we'll take some time to find sources and then share with each other what we've found.

Research exercise #1: Secondary sources

Let's do this:

  • Think of a tentative topic that you might do your project on.
  • I'll give you a certain amount of time. In that time, search for secondary sources that relate to your topic. You can use Quest or any of the other tools demonstrated in class.
    • What should you type in the search box? Obvious answers are "the name of the artist" and "the title of the artwork", but try more than just the obvious search terms! Try related concepts, too (for example, the medium, or the themes depicted, or contemporaneous historical events).
  • When the time is up, I will ask for volunteers to share what they found. I will put these sources up on the screen, and then we'll talk about them.

Research exercise #2: Primary sources

Let's do this:

  • Think about that same topic that you were just practicing on.
  • I'll give you a certain amount of time. In that time, search for primary sources that relate to your topic or to the context around your topic.
    • It's easier to find sources about the context. For example, it's hard to find primary sources about Duccio's Maestà, but it's easier to find sources from 14th-century Sienna, or sources about altarpieces, or sources about depictions of Mary and Jesus.
  • Remember, there are different strategies for finding primary sources. Try more than one strategy:
    • Find collections of primary sources in Simpson Library (by searching for "Subject contains sources").
    • Find primary sources online.
    • Use the same primary sources that the experts are using.
    • Find primary sources reproduced within secondary sources.
  • When the time is up, I will ask for volunteers to share what they found.
    • Primary sources are more difficult to find, so not everyone in the class will find something in this short time. That's okay.

 Want some help?

Just raise your hand!