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ARC 497A/597A - Research Methods

Engineering Librarian & CAPLA Liaison

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Paula C Johnson
Main Library A403

How to do an annotated bibliography

How to do a literature review

This comprehensive guide offers tips on researching and writing literature reviews. Topics covered include locating background information, the components of the literature review, the initial steps of a literature review, critical analysis guidelines, and recommended research resources.

How to do a stylistic analysis

Stylistic Analysis: This type of analysis discusses an art object or structure in terms of how it fits into or relates to a stylistic category, e.g. Classical, Romanesque, Gothic, Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, etc. Discuss how historical contexts factor into the way something may or may not fit into a defined style. Examples of stylistic analysis:

  • entries in art & architecture dictionaries and encyclopedias
  • critiques
  • theses and dissertations
  • exhibition reviews in journals / magazines / newspapers

Formal Analysis: In this type of analysis, you provide a detailed description of the building's formal qualities, i.e. design, color, line, texture, scale, contrast. Look at the structure and write down what you see. Examples of formal analysis:

  • essays in exhibition catalogs
  • essays in survey texts
  • exhibitions reviews in journals / magazines / newspapers
  • guidebooks or encyclopedias - especially useful for architectural topics

Iconographical Analysis: Here, you identify a particular element that appears in the building or its design and discuss how that same element occurs in other designs and how this architect's representation of it is unique. You may also discuss what the element means or what its place is in the overall discipline of art and art history.

Examples of Iconographical Analysis:

How to research a building

Who designed it? Who commissioned it? Who (person or firm) built it? Who worked, lived in it?

Places to look: Architectural Guidebooks / Dictionaries & Encyclopedias / Biographical Resources / Journal Articles / Newspaper Articles

What type of building is it? What is its function? What is its style? Have changes been made? What materials were used?

Places to look: Architectural Guidebooks / Journal Articles / Newspaper Articles / Architectural Drawings

What is its place in architectural design? What are its precedents or is this a first?
What are its features? What condition is it in? What is its relationship between its function and style?

Places to look: Architectural Histories / Architectural Style Guides / Dictionaries & Encyclopedias / Theses & Dissertations

What was critical response to it? What was the local reaction? What was public opinion? What was the political reaction?

Places to look: Journal Articles / Newspaper Articles / City Histories / Archives

Is it technologically advanced? Where did construction materials come from? Where does it fit into the architect's/designer's career?

Places to look: Architectural Histories / Biographical Resources / Theses & Dissertations

Why is this building important? Why was it designed the way it was? Why was it altered (if it was)?

Places to look: Architectural Histories / Journal Articles / Theses & Dissertations

When was it commissioned? When was it designed, built? Was it altered?

Places to look: Architectural Guidebooks / Dictionaries & Encyclopedias

How does it compare to similar structures? How does it relate to its environment? How do its interior and exterior design relate? How has its appearance and functionality changed? How is it still serving its original purpose?

Places to look: Architectural Histories / Journal Articles / Newspaper Articles / Theses & Dissertations /Archives