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A guide with resources relevant to fine and visual arts.

Citation Styles: Chicago, MLA, APA

Your professor may require that you use a specific citation or bibliography format, or they may let you choose as long as you consistently use the same style throughout an assignment. Below are the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) links for the most popular citation styles.

Scholarly & Popular Sources

It can be hard to determine if an article is scholarly or popular. Here are some clues that can help identify is something is scholarly:

  • It is written by an expert in the field (Ph.D., etc.)
  • The institution (university or museum) where the author works is listed.
  • The article includes a bibliography.
  • The article is in a journal (usually scholarly) rather than a magazine (usually popular).
  • The journal might be described as "peer-reviewed" or "refereed."
  • Often scholarly articles have an abstract at the beginning that explains what the article is about.
  • The article is long - popular articles tend to be 1-5 pages; scholarly articles are often over 10 pages.

The 3-minute video below offers some great tips. Answer the questions below as you watch the video:

  • What clues in scholarly articles indicates that the author is an expert?
  • What do the footnotes and bibliography allow readers to do?
  • What is the part of a scholarly article that summarizes the main points?
  • What is it called when an article is reviewed by experts?
  • What are some ways you can visually identify a popular source?

Citation Management Resources

Citation management (or bibliographic management) tools enable you to save citations, sort them, and output them in different ways.  

Art + Architecture Librarian

Sara DeWaay - Art, Art History, Arts Admin, Design's picture
Sara DeWaay - Art, Art History, Arts Admin, Design
Design Library
200 Lawrence Hall

Evaluating Sources

Below are some important things to consider when you are choosing which books, articles, and websites to use in your assignments.

Reliability: Is the information accurate and dependable? Do the facts match up?
Credibility: Is the author an expert? What are their credentials?
Validity: Where is the information coming from? It is personal opinion or research-based? Is there a bibliography or works cited section you can refer to?
Timeliness: When was it published?
Audience: Who was the article written for? Children? Scholars? Sometimes you can tell by the language - complexity and jargon suggest that it is written for a knowledgeable audience.
Bias: Does it discuss multiple sides of an issue or just one? Why was it written - for sales? to sway opinion?
Relevance: Does it address your research topic? How well? Read the abstract or introduction and conclusion to figure this out.

Considering all of these elements can help determine if your source is a good one to use for your topic. You often don't need to read the whole item to evaluate a source. Read the abstract or introduction and conclusion to make a decision about if the resource is going to work for you. If it is, then read the whole thing.