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Art History Research Guide

A guide to Library and web resources to begin your study and research in art history.

What is Plagiarism?

Avoiding Plagiarism

UNC Charlotte students should understand and abide by the University’s policy on academic integrity.


What is Plagiarism?

  • "In an instructional setting, plagiarism occurs when a writer deliberately uses someone else’s language, ideas, or other original (not common-knowledge) material without acknowledging its source."
  • "This definition applies to texts published in print or online, to manuscripts, and to the work of other student writers."
  • "A student who attempts (even if clumsily) to identify and credit his or her source, but who misuses a specific citation format or incorrectly uses quotation marks or other forms of identifying material taken from other sources, has not plagiarized. Instead, such a student should be considered to have failed to cite and document sources appropriately."

From the Council of Writing Program Administrators’: Defining and Avoiding Plagiarism: The WPA Statement on Best Practices.

Researching Artwork

Most art history books are not dedicated to a single work. The piece you are researching may be discussed by searching for the following topics:


location such as city or country

style such as Mannerist or Deco

period  such as Renaissance or Roman

movement such as Dada or Bauhaus

material or technique


Search tips for books:

  1. If you know the name of the artist, use keyword or subject searching in the library catalog and databases. 
  2. Once you have a book in hand, refer to its index or table of contents to determine whether or not your artwork is mentioned.
  3. If the artist is not well known, try searching under time period, style, location, or movement.

Annotated Bibliography

To write an annotation, you will comment, in paragraph form, on the following elements:

Content—What's the book about? Is it relevant to your research?

Purpose-—What's it for? Why was this book written?

Methods used to collect data—Where did the information come from?

Usefulness—What does it do for your research?

Reliability—Is the information accurate?

Authority—Is it written by someone who has the expertise to author the information?

Currency—Is it new? Is it up-to-date for the topic?

Scope/Coverage/Limitations—What does it cover? What does the author state that he or she will cover? What doesn't the book/article provide that would be helpful?

Arrangement—How is the book organized? Are there any special "added-value" features?

Ease of use—Can a "real person" use this book? What reading level is the book?

Sample annotation:

List, Carla J. Information Research. Dubuque, la.: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Co., 2002.


In this book, Carla List, an award-winning teacher and librarian, defines and describes information and provides step-by-step instruction on doing research. In seven chapters, she covers the organization of information, information technology, and the presentation, analysis, evaluation, and citation of information. A bibliography, glossary, and index are included. This book is aimed at the college-level student and is useful to the inexperienced researcher.

From: Burkhardt, Joanna M., Mary C. MacDonald, and Andrée J. Rathemacher. Teaching Information Literacy: 35 Practical, Standards-based Exercises for College Students. Chicago: American Library Association, 2003, pp. 57-58 (Exercise 25).