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  Home >  Staff Directory  > Susanne Tringali  > Art History Research Paper Writing Guide

Art History  Research Paper How-To:

You will be required to write a 4-5 page research paper about a topic you find interesting, as long as it relates to material covered in the class you are currently taking with me.  The paper must be properly footnoted, and submitted with a bibliography which states a minimum of 4 sources, and is written according to a college level writing manual.   I will not accept any papers WITHOUT properly cited sources.  Please consult a writing manual, talk to someone in the writing center, or use the following web site for more information about research paper writing:

The internet (i.e. should only be used as one source, whereas you should also consider books, articles, or any other written resource of scholarly nature.  The articles need to be from a professional periodical in the field of history, archaeology, or art history.  You can use electronic article sources through EPSCO host, or any electronic research engine that allows access, in addition to your googled internet sources.

THE COMPLETED PAPERS ARE DUE WEEK 9 of the term (consult your syllabus for exact date), or anytime before.

If your paper is one week late you will be graded down one letter grade - If you do not submit the paper by week 10, I will not accept it at all.  NO EXCUSES!!!

Paper Topics:
Please choose a topic from the periods that we are studying in class. Please do not choose a topic that falls outside of the framework of the material covered in the class.  For example, an artists such as VanGogh, or Brancusi will not work, seing that both fall into the "modern" category and are thus outside of the periods we are learning about. 
The research topic should be something you find interesting and should reach beyond what has been adressed in your text, or in class.  Even if you choose an artist, or topic, we are larning about in class, I want to encourage you to take the research further. 
The purpose of your paper is to inform the reader of the artwork, or architectural monument in a convincing voice, assuming that the reader knows little or nothing about your topic.  Please remember that conjecture is not an option.  I am interested in learning about your topic from a stylistic viewpoint only in terms of how the artifact relates to its period.  Your focus must be context, in terms of social, political, and religious concerns.  Remember that most art of the periods we are studying was made within a larger context and generally served  a greater purpose than just being beautiful.

You are encouraged to pursue a topic for which you can have a thesis statement.  For example: 

For Art 204 students: The Ideal Greek Temple, may be a fascinating topic, while Art 205 students may want to discuss: The architectural language of Gothic cathedral reflects the rise of humanism in the 13th century.  For Art 206 scholars a topic related to: The Use of Persespective by Early Renaissance Painters of Italy, may just be the topic of choice.

Citations and footnotes:
A paper without properly documented sources will be considered plagiarized.

Whenever you read a passage from a book, which you find useful in your paper, you must re-write it with your own words, and then cite the source from where the information came.

You must cite the source every time you use it showing each page used.  If you choose to quote someone directly, you must cite the precise source immediately after the citation.

CAUTION:  Direct citations can only be used to underscore a point you are making and cannot be longer than a sentence, or very short paragraph.  DO NOT quote entire pages.  You must paraphrase.  If you do not cite your sources I will not accept your paper.  You will have a chance to re-write it, but the paper will be considered late. 

Additionally, you are required to prepare a bibliography showing all sources used in your paper.  This is different from the citation.  Please consult the research paper guide from the URL noted above, to learn about the difference.

There is plenty of help around for you to be absolutely successful in writing a research paper. Writing center, the URL from above, and of course, me.

Enjoy the discovery and discussion of great art.

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