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Basic Research for Art History Students

Presentation on basic research techniques for art history students.

Rebecca Fitzsimmons

on 15 April 2013

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Transcript of Basic Research for Art History Students

Places to Look Where information sources live Can I use social networking sources for research? Wikis "reasonable, reflective thinking that is focused on deciding what to believe or what to do."

- Robert Ennis, 1989 "Critical thinking calls for a persistent effort to examine any belief or supposed form of knowledge in the light of the evidence that supports it and the further conclusions to which it tends."

- Edward Glaser, 1941 Critical thinking is... "mode of thinking--about any subject, content, or problem--in which the thinker improves the quality of his or thinking by skillfully taking charge of the structures inherent in thinking and imposing intellectual standards upon them."

- Paul, Fisher,
and Nosich,
1993 What do these definitions have in common?
Active, skillful reflection, questioning, and evaluation

Particular critical thinking skills we apply to web resources:
Clarifying and interpreting ideas
Analyzing and judging the credibility of claims, ideas, and information sources
Making decisions based on that analysis and evaluation But... Remember, the question list is only a guide.
Some information will simply not be found in each online environment; this does not automatically mean the information is not authoritative.
Take notes on the source of the information and the reasons you have identified it as valid or credible; you may need to prove this later There are many wikis available on the web
Some are easy to identify as excellent sources, especially institutional wikis
Look for at least one author or moderator
Look for clean and error free content and design
See if there are standards posted for editing content; if not, check that there is at least a history that can be reviewed for each page
Keep in mind that art is a rapidly evolving field, so wikis may change often to represent new research or artist activities Wikis Beyond Wikipedia Wikipedia Entry New Media Art https://wiki.brown.edu/confluence/display/MarkTribe/New+Media+Art

Created by a professor of visual culture at Brown University & has excellent entries on new media artists Critical Evaluation A few considerations
Suitability - scope of the work; does it fully address your information need? Is it too complicated? Too general? Do you need a source that is considered scholarly or is a popular article better?

Authority - Can you identify the authors? What qualifications do they posses? Do you need an objective report or are you looking for an editorial work?

Objectivity - How about the source of the information? Does it come from a magazine or website that is published by an advocacy organization? If so, is this acceptable? What kind of criteria do they apply to the selection of materials?

PAY ATTENTION! Some information is satirical, presenting a parody of events or issues. Make sure that factual information you cite is actually factual! People have been known to cite fake news stories from The Onion, a paper and website that parodies real news sources or discuss outrageous "Calvin Klein" or "McDonald's" ads from Adbusters, which is clearly an activist organization. Other Web Resources Directory of Open Access Journals http://www.doaj.org/ Let's not forget citation Check out the OWL at Purdue for specific tips on citing resources in MLA style,
which is commonly used in the humanities and art fields:

Key information:
Lastname, Firstname. Title of Book. City of Publication: Publisher, Year of Publication. Medium of Publication.

Cumming, Robert. (2001). Art: A Field Guide. New York : Alfred A. Knopf. Print. Presentation by Rebecca Fitzsimmons:

Find this presentation at:

http://www.youtube.com/user/rfitzsim12?feature=mhum http://www.polleverywhere.com/multiple_choice_polls/MzY2MzAxNDc0 Critical Thinking Critical thinking is... "Critical thinking is the skilled and active interpretation and evaluation of observations and communications, information and argumentation."

- Fisher and Scriven, 1997 Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that is written and edited by the people who use it. “What defines the best minds,” Keen argues, “is their ability to go beyond the ‘wisdom’ of the crowd and mainstream opinion.” Wikipedia is premised on a contrary theory of truth that would have seemed familiar to George Orwell: if the crowd says that two plus two equals five, then two plus two really does equal five. - John-Paul Flintoff, The Sunday Times
Andrew Keen, The Cult of the Amateur http://technology.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/tech_and_web/personal_tech/article1874668.ece Fact vs. opinion
Scholarly vs. popular
Professional vs. Amateur What is driving the information need? http://library.albany.edu/usered/eval/evalweb/
University of California, Berkeley Library
Library guide on evaluating information sources

University of Albany, University Libraries
Excellent resource on evaluating web content A wiki is a web site that allows users to change, add, or correct contents. This editing can be open to any website visitors or it can be offered to authorized members of the community. But consider this: When was the last time you were allowed to cite an encyclopedia as a source for college-level research? PROBABLY NEVER!

http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/1413/1331 Study: Wikipedia as Accurate as Britannica
http://news.cnet.com/Study-Wikipedia-as-accurate-as-Britannica/2100-1038_3-5997332.html Nature's responses to Encyclopaedia Britannica

Download and read the PDFs called Encyclopedia Britannica and rebuttal Article on New Media has good and bad points, but how do we decide if it is authoritative? Try to find as much information listed on the questions page as possible! Styles vary, but don't overcomplicate! Is Wikipedia a useful source? How do you define critical thinking? Research
Art History Resources
Methods Critical Thinking Citations 3 basic
to cover 3 Distinct Places Library Catalog for books Databases for articles Examples: Academic Search Premier (great starting point for general research)
Artstor (large selection of art historical images)
Jstor (contains articles from many humanities publications) Internet for a variety of materials
including multimedia A library database is an online resource that the library subscribes to. It contains articles and information from many different print sources such as magazines, newspapers, journals, and reference books. General article databases often cover a variety of subjects while reference databases are specific to to fields such as the humanities, art, history, sciences, phsycology, and so forth. It's a good idea to check both general and discipline-specific databases. Databases are NOT Internet resources. Most of the full-text articles and title records cannot be found by Googling your search terms as they are digital versions of published (subscription-based) magazines, journals, and other resources. When you find information in a database you are looking at a resource that the author has published in a magazine or journal. You are NOT looking at information that the author has written directly for that database. For instance, Academic Search Premier provides records for over different 8,500 journals. Savvy Internet Research Great for VERY BASIC background on a topic Scholarship and popular sources on the Web Free of charge and allows you to search for quality-controlled (peer-reviewed) open-access (free of charge) scholarly journals in a wide range of fields. Use it to find articles on your research topic or entire art-specific and related humanities journals, such as http://19thc-artworldwide.org/ Google Scholar Academic Search Premier: Multidisciplinary database of articles from many fields

Art Full Text: Provides indexing for over 450
leading art periodicals, 1984-present. Full-text
HTML and PDF files available for select
publications back to 1997.

Art Index Retrospective: The “backfile” of Art Full Text, covering 1929-1984. Indexes articles and illustrations in over 560 art, architecture, design periodicals.

Arts & Humanities Citation Index (A&HCI)Traces cited references (footnotes) and authorship from 1975-present.

ARTstor: A digital library of over one million images in the arts, architecture, humanities, and social sciences with a suite of software tools to view, present, and manage images for research and teaching purposes.

Bibliography of the History of Art (BHA): A comprehensive bibliography of over 1,200 scholarly journals published between 1990 and 2009 covering the history of western art.

Index to 19th Century American Art Periodicals: The only online index to 42 art periodicals published in the U.S. during the 1800s. Entire journal contents are indexed — including illustrations and advertisements.

JSTOR: Scholarly journal archive, going back to the first issue for many titles, covering Classical studies, area studies, anthropology, architecture, archaeology and art history.

Lexis-Nexis: Full-text newspapers

Oxford Art Online: Contains Grove Art Online (encyclopedia), Oxford Companion to Western Art, Oxford Companion to Western Art, Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art Terms. Useful Art Research Databases Easy Citation Resource Son of Citation Machine:

Simply select your required style (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.), pick your format (book, journal, etc.) and fill in the form fields. It will generate a correct citation automatically. Remember, if you don't give credit for other people's ideas you may be plagiarizing their work! Please contact me with any questions!

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