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Reference books like dictionaries and encyclopedias are great ways to get background information on your topic. Looking up your topic can get you biographical or historical information, general concepts, lists of works, and related terms depending on your topic.
The type of information you gather from reference sources is seldom the kind of critical analysis your professors are looking for in your papers. Use reference sources to become familiar with your topic so that you can search smarter when you look for books and articles. You should generally refrain from using them in your papers. Situations vary, so if you're unsure, check with your instructor.
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This guide is designed to help you get started on your research. Use the tabs above to find articles, books, and librarian-approved websites. Feel free to contact me directly (see boxes to right) if you have any questions or want to set up an appointment to meet for more help.
Looking and Writing by Marilyn WymanLooking and Writing is an introductory guide for readers who are engaged in writing a visual analysis for the first time. Although it is written informally with the novice in mind, it provides the reader with the technical vocabulary appropriate to a visual analysis. KEY TOPICS: Guidelines for the selection, analysis, and presentation of an image found in a museum or gallery setting or an on-line site form the core chapters of the book. Other chapters discuss the use of symbols, the cultural precepts of how we process visual information, suggestions for writing and proofreading an essay and the structure of a proper bibliography. For those interested in art history, or writing about art.
Publication Date: 2002-07-12
Encyclopedia of American Folk Art by Gerard C. Wertkin (Editor)For a full list of entries, contributors, and more, visit the Encyclopedia of American Folk Art web site. This is the first comprehensive, scholarly study of a most fascinating aspect of American history and culture. Generously illustrated with both black and white and full-color photos, this A-Z encyclopedia covers every aspect of American folk art, encompassing not only painting, but also sculpture, basketry, ceramics, quilts, furniture, toys, beadwork, and more, including both famous and lesser-known genres. Containing more than 600 articles, this unique reference considers individual artists, schools, artistic, ethnic, and religious traditions, and heroes who have inspired folk art. An incomparable resource for general readers, students, and specialists, it will become essential for anyone researching American art, culture, and social history.