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Art & Art History

A Guide to Articles, Books, and Websites for Art.

Finding Relevant Sources

What important factors should you consider when looking at information? What makes information "good" or "bad" for your current purpose?

Some considerations and tools to help as you do your research:

CRAAP Test (originally conceived at CSU Chico by Sarah Blakeslee):

  • Currency: timeliness of the information

    • When was it published? Has it been revised or updated? 

  • Relevance: how it relates to the topic 

    • Is it speaking to your intended topic?

    • Is it too complex or not complex enough?

  • Authority: what is the intention and who is the audience?

    • Is it meant to be factual? An opinion piece? Purposefully confusing/convincing?

    • Does it appear to be objective or impartial?

  • Accuracy: is it reliable information

    • Peer Reviewed?

    • Who is the author? What are their credentials? Who is the publisher?

    • Does the author cite other sources? 

    • Is it well researched and is their evidence to substantiate claims?

  • Purpose: is it meant to sell, entertain or educate? 

 

Think like a fact-checker! And don't be afraid to be critical (it's the crux of academia). Try lateral search methods: use a search engine to discover more about the information creator and source. Look across multiple sites to piece together what level of authority the creator possesses, and how relevant the content is to your research.

Boolean Operators

Boolean Operators link concepts and are used to broaden or narrow your search. Briefly, here's how they work:

AND - finds results with your all search terms.  AND narrows your search.

OR - finds results with any of your search terms.  OR broadens your search.

NOT - finds results with only one of your search terms.  NOT narrows your search.

Wildcards and Truncation

Wildcards

Wildcards are used when you are unsure of a particular spelling or if there are alternate spellings of your search term. The most common wildcard symbol across databases is the "?". The wildcards work a little different within each database, but the common function looks something like this:
 

If you type: The database will return:
 col?r records containing color, colour, colonizer, and colorimeter 

 

Truncation

Similar to wildcards is the truncation function. Truncation is also used when you are unsure of a spelling or only know part of a search term. The common truncation symbol across the databases is the "*". What the * does is it begins searching for any words that begin with the letters you've typed, but may end in many different ways. It looks something like this:
 

If you type: The database will return:
educat* records containing educate, educates, education, educated, etc.
teach* records containing teach, teacher, teachers, teaches, teaching, teachability, etc.