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UMW Libraries
Simpson Library | Special Collections

FSEM 100N7: Architecture Now: Home

Meet your librarian

Your assignment

Here is a condensed summary of your research paper assignment. For a full description of the assignment, please see the course syllabus.

Research Paper (45% worth of final grade): Students will write a 6-page final paper (minimum length of 6 pages, you can write up to 2 more pages if you want), double-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font, 1-inch margin. You can choose any single topic, or a cross-cultural or cross-time comparison of artworks. The final paper has several stages:

  • Research Paper Proposal (approx. 250 words, 10% worth of the paper grade): You have to submit one or two paragraphs outlining your thesis statement (what you will write on), historical/cultural background of the object, and how you will explore it. You also need to include three scholarly sources in the bibliography following Chicago Manual of Style.
  • Visual Analysis (approx. 250-350 words, 10% worth of the paper grade): please refer to the instructions for the Short Visual Analysis Paper. This time, you are writing a visual analysis on the building(s) you chose as your research topic.
  • First draft of the paper(3-4 pages, 5% worth of the paper grade): You will receive full credit for this assignment if you submit on time, but it won’t be graded.
  • Final Research Paper (minimum of 6 pages, Times New Roman, font size 12, 1-inch margin, 20% worth of the paper grade): needs to include visual analysis, interpretation (the application of information you learned from lectures and readings), at least 6 scholarly sources, and your substantial research in the library. Based on library research, you are asked to build up your own thesis statement that contains your original ideas and critical thinking and synthesize analyses of the scholarship in relation to the work upon which it is based. Again, the paper must include proper citations and bibliography following the Chicago Manual of Style.


Use Quest to search the library's physical collection and the contents of most of the library's electronic databases.

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Search articles, books, and more...

Other tools you can use

The Wikipedia logo

Encyclopedias provide short overviews or summaries of a topic. Simpson Library has a large collection of print encyclopedias in the Reference section on the first floor. These encyclopedias, unlike Wikipedia, are written and edited by experts.

Encyclopedias are designed to be used when you're first starting your research. They help you familiarize yourself with a new topic. However, do not cite encyclopedias. The reason why you shouldn't cite them is that they are not original. They merely repeat and summarize what other people have said. It's better to get the information straight from the original source (which will probably be cited at the end of the encyclopedia article).

Simpson Library has lots of architecture encyclopedias. I particularly recommend these:



You can use Quest to search all subjects, or use individual databases to search specific subjects (such as Art). Out of the 200+ databases that UMW subscribes to, these are the most useful databases for this class:

Cartoon art of a book

Books in the library

Use Quest to discover books in the library, and then use call numbers to find those books on the shelves. Here's an explanation of how our call numbers work.

Books about architecture are shelved under the letters NA on the second floor.

My presentation to your class

Here are the PowerPoint slides for my presentation to your class. Click in the lower right corner to expand the slides to full screen.



Reference Librarian

Peter Catlin's picture
Peter Catlin

Other guides

Advice and recommendations for FSEMs in general, and for Art & Art History research.


The Citing Resources guide gives you examples of perfectly-formatted citations. Zotero is a free app that keeps track of the sources you've found, and generates citations without any typing.