EVAR 3000

Research Strategies and Resources

Today we will look at:

  • Starting research

  • Places to find resources in the library collection (books, ebooks, peer reviewed articles, and images)

  • Search tips

  • Library Services during the pandemic

  • Resources for evaluating and Citation and annotated bibiliographies in Chicago Style

Research: Where to Start?

  • Get curious and inspired by exploring your topic broadly

  • Brainstorm keywords based on what you know & what Qs you have

    • What do you know about the subject so far?
      • Architect's name
      • period - Renaissance, modern, "20th century"
      • country name
      • style - postmodern, "gothic revival", bauhaus
  • Expand your background information
    • Check reference sources for background info (dictionaries, encyclopedias, textbooks etc), add to keywords      
  • Check the library search and use filters to explore results   

  • Check the most relevant subject guide for databases to search     

  • Expand search via sources from bibliographies and new keywords

UM Library Search

  • Very broad search engine - you may receive results from all subject areas (more results if you're signed in)
  • Where you can search all physical resources (books)
  • Content from some, not all, of the library's databases including resources like:
    •  ebooks
    • peer-reviewed journal articles
    • images (more results if you're signed into your account)
  • Can apply filters to narrow results

For more sources in library search check:

  • the bibliography/citations of a work you're looking at






Virtual Browse 

Related Reading

Subject Headings 

Subject Guides

Reference Resources


(encyclopedias, dictionaries, textbooks, etc.)

  • Overview of a person, movement, sometimes a specific building
    • UM Library Search > limit Resource Type to Reference Entries
    • Credo Reference (reference resources, dictionary entries, some images)
    • Oxford Art Online (dictionary entries and peer reviewed articles from ancient to contemporary)
    • Artstor (images of arts and architecture)

Journal Articles

  • UM Library Search > limit Resource Type to articles
  • Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals (journal articles on architecture 1934-present)
  • The Art Bulletin (peer reviewed articles on art history)
  • JSTOR (database hosting broad coverage of journals with peer-reviewed articles, including the arts)


Learn at the Libraries: What is peer review?

Searching Images

  • Library Search - apply filter to limit resource type to images
    • If you're signed in this pulls images from databases including Artstor
    • All these results are copyrighted to use for educational purposes
  • Databases 
    • Go directly to image databases such as Artstor or Oxford Art Online to search
  • Images in books, journals, and articles
    • The publication should have at least 9 other images to fall within fair dealing guidelines for copying an image
    • The library and/or UM Copyright Office can answer questions.
  • Images Via Google Images
    • Might be uploaded illegally or have copyright restrictions, check the terms of use and be cautious (ask for help if you're unsure)

Search Tips


Phrase your topic as a research question



  • Break down your topic into keywords and brainstorm synonyms
  • Try to articulate different ways of expressing a concept that you are searching



  • searching with more keywords = more specific and fewer results
  • searching with fewer keywords = more broad and more results

Search Tips: More Results

Broadening Your Results

  • You can give the search more options by placing similar words in brackets, separated by OR:  (art OR architecture)  (great spirit OR gitche manitou) (Shang Dynasty OR Zhou Dynasty)

    • These will cause results to all have at least one of those words in the the title, description, and/or the text
  • Wildcard: Add an asterisk (*) to the end of a word to get results that include the root word as well as any possible endings:

Architect* finds: Architect, Architects, Architecture, Architectural...

Christian* finds: Christian, Christians, Christianity...

Note: be careful where you place the *, for example Christ* would also find: Christmas, Christo (an artist)

Learn at the Libraries: Advanced Search

Search Tips: More Specific  

Narrowing Your Results

  • Place a phrase "in quotation marks" to search that exact phrase or order of words
    • ex. "social justice", "Douglas Cardinal" 
  • Use NOT to exclude unrelated content
    • union NOT soviet - for content about unions but not the Soviet Union

Learn at the Libraries: Advanced Search


Brainstorm some keywords you could use to start a search for this research question

Brainstorm some advanced search possibilities using:

"blank", (blank OR blank), AND, NOT, *


“Wang shu” AND “Lu Wenyu” AND (china OR Chinese) AND paint*


“Wang shu” AND “Lu Wenyu” AND china AND inspiration


(“Wang shu” OR “Lu Wenyu”) AND (china OR Chinese) AND (landscape OR paint*)


“Wang shu” AND “Lu Wenyu” AND (inspiration OR influence)


“Wang shu” AND “Lu Wenyu” AND (inspiration OR influence) AND architect*


​“Wang shu” AND “Lu Wenyu”  AND landscape AND paint*

Pandemic Library Services

Libraries COVID-19 Updates

  • Online/digital services always available
  • Print Books 
    • request to pick-up books from locker
    • request a scan of a book 



  • Ebooks and Digitized books
    • HathiTrust: temporary electronic versions of some print books.

Evaluating External Sources

Learn at the Libraries: Evaluating



Currency - Is there a date the page was published or updated? How current are the cited sources? Are there broken links?

Relevancy - who is the intended audience?

Authority - is the author a recognized expert in this field?

Accuracy - supported with evidence (citations)? Peer-reviewed?

Purpose - to inform? teach? entertain? persuade? sell? Check the domain (eg: .com = commercial, .org = non-profit, .edu = educational...


Citing and Writing





General Library Help

  • Check the Covid-19 Library Updates page for access current information
  • Questions about library account or how the UM Libraries work? The Undergraduate Help & Services page may have the answer
  • Use the Ask Us chat
    • This is the quickest way to chat with someone. If you place your question when we're not online live, we will get back to you the following morning.


Research Support

  • Subject Guides
  • Learn at the Libraries
    • For tips and resources on searching the library, evaluating resources, and citations
  • Contact Ashley for help with search strategies for your topic or assignment, advice on which databases to use, and citation questions