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Research and writing in the disciplines: The Arts

Brief descriptions of the thinking and writing most valued by individual disciplines; recommended library databases


The Arts include Literature, Fine Art, Creative Writing, Photography, Sculpture, Art History, Dance (and some others, I'm sure).

Professional and academic writing in the Arts should include:

  • Lots of descriptive language. Artists want to visualize the piece through the writing and rely on the writer to provide a useful depiction through words.
  • Analysis of symbolism, technique, organization, medium, theme and structure. These concepts hold a lot of meaning in the Arts and should be considered when appropriate.
  • A sense of cultural relevance. You might need to provide evidence of the culture in which the piece was created to show how the piece reflects and/or affects the culture in which it was created.
  • The beauty of language. In these disciplines the use of direct quotes is much more acceptable than in the Social Sciences.

Research sources for the Arts

General databases for the Arts

All of the Arts are reasonably well covered in the following databases:

Visual arts

Literary Criticism

Links to research guides for the Arts

These are links to research guides created here at TCC either for a specific discipline or program or for a specific assignment. They will give you a little deeper understanding of what instructors might require. 

Library guides for Art:

Library guides for Literary Criticism:

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