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ARH101 Art History: Prehistoric through Gothic Art (Hall)

Research guide designed for ARH101 students with links to library databases, tips for scholarly research, and detailed instruction in producing an annotated bibliography.


A scholarly or academic resource is an in-depth, higher-level resource, such as a full book, book chapter, or journal article. These resources are written by authors with expertise in the field and geared for an audience of experts rather than for a general audience. They do not usually define key terms the way reference articles do. To understand your scholarly sources, you need to get general reference information under your belt first.

  • Scholarly resources are written by scholars. They come from experts in a field or topic
  • They are high-level resources that often use professional jargon, or language specific to a discipline
  • They may be original research (a primary source) or a critical evaluation of research published in their field (secondary source)
  • They are most often published by university or academic publishers

A note on peer-reviewed articles: The terms "scholarly article" and "academic article" are often used interchangably. However, a "scholarly, peer-reviewed article" is a very specific type of resource that goes through a rigorous process of review before being accepted for publication. This is the gold standard of research. For the purposes of your annotated bib, you do not need to limit yourself only to scholarly, peer-reviewed articles. 

Library databases

Scholarly articles are found --for free to GCC students--in the library databases. Library databases are organized collections of information from credible, academic sources. They contain articles from scholarly journals, reference books, magazines, research in the arts and sciences, full-text books, book chapters, book reviews, and more. The source of the information is clearly identified as well as the date of publication.

The GCC Library subscribes to over 70 different databases and organizes them by subject. You can find the databases dedicated to art by clicking on Arts and Humanities Database at the GCC Library You can also try a general academic database, like Academic Source Complete to look for information. Here is a video made by librarian, Renee Smith, showing how to search this database and offering useful search tips.  

But I most recommend using JSTOR for scholarly journal articles about art. I also recommend using ONE SEARCH to search several databases at once.

JSTOR Database

One database source that has been useful to students completing this assignment is JSTOR. There are many scholarly articles housed in JSTOR that cover art. Follow the link below to the JSTOR database. Enter your MEID and password when prompted. Then use a few search terms related to your art object. Remember--scholarly articles are long and in-depth. They have been written by experts for experts. This isn't easy reading. However, scholarly articles are high quality resources. Some might be dated. Be sure to address that in your evaluation/annotation.

One Search

One Search  Instead of searching individual databases, you can search several at once by using the search box below. Each tab searches for different types of information. For an eBook, you click on the Find Books tab and select the radio button beneath the search box for eBooks. For a scholarly article, click on the Find Articles tab and select the radio button for scholarly.  You can search all types by using the default One Search tab. 

Search terms Try a variety of different search terms. The name of your art piece might not bring back any results. Try using terms related to your art object. Or try searching for the type of art piece it is, the medium in which it was made, the region from which it comes. Use the Object Details associated with your art object to brainstorm search terms.

Type directly into the box below mixing and matching search terms to see what you get. Once you see your results, you can limit them by using the discipline, subject, and date limiters on the left side of the screen.   Don't use too many terms at once! Don't use full sentences!





Art in World History: Volume 1

Consider using this academic source, an eBook which covers several non-western cultures, specific to art.

Art World History in 2 Volumes

Focus on the first volume because it covers the relevant time period. Again, enter your MEID and password when prompted in order to access this resource. Scroll down to see specific chapters already linked for you.








In Volume 1, you will find chapters on:

  • The Origins of Art, Early Artifacts
  • Civilization and Empire in China
  • The Rise of Islam: Art in the Muslim Empire
  • African Art: Traditions and the Old Kingdom
  • Buddhism, Jainism, and Hinduism: The Development of Indian Art
  • Buddhism Taoism, and, Confucianism: Art in China 600-1368



Examples of Scholarly Sources

Below are some example scholarly sources found by using the Find Articles .(scholarly) tab and the Find Books (eBook) tab:


Art and Myth of the Ancient Maya  ( full-length eBook)

"Eskimo Art Prototypes in the Chinese Neolithic: A Comparison of Okvik/Old Bering Sea and Liangzhu  Ritual Art"  (a scholarly journal article)

"The Performance of Rulership: Avian Transformation in Izapan Style Monuments"  (a single chapter from a full-length eBook)


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