Guide for Research Paper on Modern Art/Architecture 1900-1940
10-12 double-spaced pages of text plus illustrations. Approximately 3,000 words not
counting figure captions, footnotes, annotated bibliography. Papers should be illustrated,
typed and stapled.
Bibliography must be annotated.
Illustrations must be numbered, titled and placed at the end of the paper.
Deadline for research papers (no extensions): noon, Thursday, April 23, 2020
Ryder 239 (Art + Design office, during A+D office hours), Richardson mailbox.
Late papers will be downgraded. Missing papers receive an F for the project. Missing
documentation or plagiarism results in an F for the course.
E-mail papers not accepted.
In addition to the books on reserve at Snell, the databases listed below are good places to begin
your scholarly research. Don't worry when you find contradictory information. Some artists
have had generations of people interpreting their narratives to fit their own needs. Instead think
about what each conflicting narrative suggests and try to find the common ground between them.
Also check area libraries.
Oxford Art Online (Grove Dictionary of Art) - for general background. Do not use this as a
source for your paper; start here to find a basic bibliography.
JSTOR, a research database for scholarly periodicals
Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals
ArtSTOR image database for good quality images
Wikipedia is NOT a scholarly source, and many on-line sources are not trustworthy.
The main approaches to art history are formal/visual analysis, iconographic,
contextual (religion, politics, etc.) and biographical or psychological. As you do
your research, read critically. Is your author convincing? What and how does the
author use for evidence? Is the author presenting new information or simply
summarizing previous work? What questions are left unanswered? Research your
topic in depth. Choose topics or artists not covered in class. Your goal is to
contribute to the content of the course with new material.
If you are working on a specific artist, include a brief summary of personal and
professional background. Explain innovative work, working method, aesthetic
intentions. What movement is your artist associated with and how? How does the
work relate to other artists and movements? What major themes are you
discussing? Have a clear overall point to make about why your artist and the work
are important. Summarize interesting critiques you’ve researched. Do you agree
with them? Use your visual/formal analysis skills when describing specific works
to illustrate your points. Are any works in local museums or exhibits? Have you
looked at object files or archives in these locations? If a local museum has work
related to your topic, you must include it in your paper.
Summarize what you have learned, go into depth on certain aspects of your
research. This will enable you to do research in related fields like psychology,
history, science, literature, etc. Do your own, original analysis of the visuals.
If you are writing about a movement or event, the same suggestions apply.
Think about balance. If some aspect of your topic was covered in class, you may
want to do a brief review and then move onto new material in your paper. The
substance of your work should be research of new topics.
DO NOT BE VAGUE OR REPETITIOUS and AVOID PLATITUDES.
If you need help with research sources, please consult the reference librarian at
Snell. If you need help with writing, make appointments with the Teaching
Assistant or the Writing Center early. Students working closely with editors, must
turn in their original paper as well as the final edited paper.
Format. There is no particular format required for the papers (Chicago or MLA
suggested). Use a standard format preferred by your profession. Papers should be
typed, double-spaced with page numbers and stapled. Fancy covers are not
necessary; name, date, course and title on the first page. Illustrations, placed at the
end of the paper, must be labeled with artist, title and date, and may be printed in
black and white.
Plagiarism/Citation. All work must comply with Northeastern University’s Code
of Student Conduct. Plagiarism, lack of proper documentation, or academic
dishonesty will result in a failing final grade. Lack of proper documentation
includes lack of footnotes and is considered plagiarism. Cases of plagiarism will be
referred to the OSSCR office and possibly result in disciplinary action.
If you have written a paper on your topic in a previous course, be sure that this
paper is a different one and pursues an original trajectory.
How to get started on a research paper.
1. List 10 things you think you already know about your topic. Start with the
basics. Nothing is too obvious to state. It’s OK if you learn later, after
further research, that you were wrong about some things, or if you change
2. Write 20 questions about your topic. As you look at art you already know,
what questions come to mind? What new things have you discovered?
3. Mark each question with the type of source that will best answer it. Some
types of sources include: reference works (encyclopedia, dictionary, atlas,
etc.), books (anthologies, textbooks, biographies, long-form journalism,
biographies, etc.), academic journal articles (must be peer-reviewed), films
(especially documentaries), periodicals (newspapers, magazines),
discipline-specific websites and other electronic sources.
4. Do your own in-depth visual analysis of the images you choose to illustrate
your paper. Your formal analysis should be personal.
Grading Criteria for Research Papers (see rubric on Blackboard)
An “A” paper demonstrates a superior understanding of the topic, provides
an original and thoughtful response to the material in question, articulates a
clear and convincing argument supported by careful analysis of evidence, is
well organized, clearly written and free of grammatical and typographical
A “B” paper demonstrates a competent understanding of the topic, presents a
logical argument, may have minor organizational problems or lack of
specific analysis; few or no grammatical or typographical errors.
A “C” paper meets the minimum requirements, lacks clarity and deeper
analysis; may reflect inadequate preparation and may have grammatical and
typographical errors. Fails to present a logical thesis.
A “D” paper fails to meet minimum requirements for the assignment (for
example, too short, no illustrations). It may also fail to present a logical
argument, lack clarity, contain errors and reflect inadequate or careless
An “F” paper falls significantly short of the minimum requirements or is
missing (more than one day late), or lacks documentation (lacks footnotes or
Purchase answer to see full