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Art History & Architecture History

This guide identifies basic resources for research in art and architectural history.

Scholarship as Conversation

We are often taught to conduct research and writing in a linear process: we (1) read the work of scholars and then (2) quote or summarize their findings in our papers. This model can limit our own voices in our work, leaving us with research papers full of paraphrased thoughts and quotations. 

Diagram showing three quotation marks in a circle, with an arrow pointing right to a human figure in a circle, with another arrow pointing right to a pencil and paper.

For more engaging research projects, consider approaching your research and writing through the lens of "scholarship as conversation." According to the Association of College and Research Libraries, practicing "scholarship as conversation" looks like "communities of scholars, researchers, or professionals [engaging] in sustained discourse with new insights and discoveries occurring over time as a result of varied perspectives and interpretations." Following this model, we can recognize that by reading and responding to the works of others we are also contributing to the developing conversation. Rather than merely regurgitating what others have said, we can be mindful about inserting our own conclusions as if we were in dialogue with the authors of the books and articles we read. For example, we can present the divergent findings of Scholar A and Scholar B, but we must also discuss why we agree or disagree with their claims. This may involve a number of methods, including (but not limited to) referencing the work of additional scholars, introducing ideas from other disciplines, and providing more nuanced analyses of the authors' evidence.

Three silhouetted figures each contained in separate circles in a triangular layout, with double-sided arrows between each circled silhouette.

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