After the first week: Finding your materials

Now it's time to read widely, THINK about what you're reading, and start assembling a tentative bibliography. As you read, your topic and how you will handle it will increasingly come into focus. As your topic comes into focus it's time to start taking notes, being sure to keep track of page numbers, and what is a direct quote as opposed to a paraphrase. Again, the strategies outlined below might seem cumbersome at first. But remember that ultimately this method yields better results: you'll have a wider range of information to draw from, and if your aim is to gain a deep understanding of your topic, in the long run it's faster.

Strategies to use--each of these is explained in the following pages:

1) Hold off for now on Library databases of journal articles.

2) Do a combination catalog and shelf search

3) Approach books efficiently.

4) SNOWBALL!!

5) Use Amazon.com in conjunction with SEAL and WorldCat

6) Consult bibliographies

7) Read "Writing a Research Paper," in Barnet's Short Guide to Writing About Art.

8) When you're ready to do a focused search, use the databases

9) Assess your bibliography

© Jan Mainzer