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This Libguide is your place to get access to information to be most succesfull on your research paper for Karen Libby's class Writing About the Arts

Writing About the Arts

Write about the Arts

"Henry and Abe" artwork by Abraham Rattner pen and ink on paper with Henry Miller writing. Image courtesy of Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art.  From the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.


Write about DANCE

Axis Dance Company photo by David Desilva.

Write about FILM

Stock Image of unknown origin or creation


"Vincent" by Barbara Stok and "Pablo" by Julie Birmant and Clément Oubrerie (Photo: Abrams).


Write about LITERATURE

"The Art Scholar" Created by amartinsdebarros on deviantART.


Write about MUSIC

"Musical Instruments Map Of The World Map" is a piece of digital artwork by Michael Tompsett.


Write about POETRY

"Edgar A. Poe. “The Raven" by Opiemme  Torino, Italy. (photo © Opiemme).


Write about THEATRE

"The Meeting of Oberon and Titania" an illustration from 1905 by Arthur Rackham.


Write about VISUAL ARTS

 “Yellow” by Nathan Sawaya’s is an iconic piece of Lego art. Photo By Erica Ann.

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Writing About The Arts 2018

Documented Research Essay An Essay about Art

The Documented Research Essay is on a topic of your choosing related to art. Research that topic, create a thesis which states an important idea about your topic, and support your thesis with evidence from print and online sources. Your final product will be a documented research essay that demonstrates your newfound expertise about your chosen topic.

Read the Rules

  • ●  Be prepared to be held accountable for MLA formatting guidelines. Errors in this assessment area will impact your grade significantly. MLA Formatting Guidelines

  • ●  Read this handout carefully. You will be assessed according to your ability to fulfill the requirements of this project, and they are clearly stated here.

    Know the Many Parts of this Project (due dates to be determined)

  • ●  Notecards (fill out at least 15)

  • ●  Annotated Bibliography (6-8 entries, summaries and evaluations of each source)

  • ●  Documented Research Essay (4-6 pages)

  • ●  Works Cited Page (includes at least 5 sources, 1 must be print and 1 must be from a database)

    Essay Requirements

  • ●  Write 4-6 pages, plus a “Works Cited” page.

  • ●  Include in-text citations, MLA Format.

  • ●  Cite at least 5 sources, one of which must be a print source, and one of which must be from our

    library databases. Do not cite Wikipedia as a source. If you need to cite an encyclopedia, start

    with Encyclopedia Britannica .

  • ●  Adhere to all MLA formatting guidelines. MLA Resource for Research Papers

    The Process:

    Focus Your Reading & Research

    Once you have chosen an art area of focus, research that art area. Through the activity of reading, watching and taking notes, you will learn about this artistic topic. Approach your research with questions about your topic, and allow your questions to grow and change while you research. Your thesis statement will be a response to one or more of those questions. It will be a statement that demonstrates a new conclusion that you have reached through your research. Therefore, you will probably form your thesis during the research process, but once you have formed it, you will have to continue to research so that you have enough evidence to support that thesis.

  • ●  Choose a topic.

  • ●  Research the topic, with questions in mind and new questions forming.

  • ●  Write a thesis statement that is an answer to one of your research questions.

IAA | Writing About the Arts | Documented Research Essay | 2018


Keep Track of Your Research

At the end of your essay, you’ll include an MLA Works Cited page that lists all of the sources you quote or specifically refer to in your essay. As you conduct research along the way, build this Works Cited page, using MLA format for research papers. As you research, you are creating an Annotated Bibliography, which is similar to your Works Cited Page, only it includes everything that you read, not simply the sources that you quote within your essay. It’s common to find sources that are interesting but don’t directly relate to your thesis; you will list those in your Annotated Bibliography, though you probably won’t list them in your Works Cited page. You are required to quote at least 5 sources in your first and final drafts of your essay. Not all of the resources that you list on your Annotated Bibliography will make it into your final draft, but you’ll get credit for your research.

As you conduct your research, write a new entry for each source you read or skim. Underneath the citation, write a paragraph in which you summarize the main points of that article or critical essay, and then evaluate its relationship to your thesis. Keep good records of your sources as you go.

Your Annotated Bibliography should:

  • ●  be an alphabetical list of everything you read or skimmed

  • ●  be organized according to MLA format (authors’ last name first, or title if you have no author)

  • ●  be double-spaced

  • ●  include a summary of each source

  • ●  include an evaluation of the source and how it does/doesn’t relate to your thesis

  • ●  be in academic language, though it can be less formal than the language of your essay (use

    present tense to summarize your sources, but you can also use “I” to evaluate your sources)

  • ●  have 6-8 entries (you are only required to cite 5 of them in your paper)

IAA | Writing About the Arts | Documented Research Essay | 2018



In addition to your annotated bibliography, you should create at least 15 notecards for this project. Use your notecards to create quote sandwiches which you might later use in your research essay.

Sample Notecard:

Conference Schedule: (dates to be determined)

At the time of your first conference with Ms. Leland, you will be expected to have concluded your preliminary research and to provide the following:

  • ●  Annotated Bibliography with at least 4 source entries, summaries, evaluations.

  • ●  8 completed notecards

    At the time of your second conference with Ms. Leland, you will be expected to have concluded your reading research and to provide the following:

    ● Annotated Bibliography with at least 6 source entries, summaries, evaluations (including the 4 from the first conference)

    ● 15 completed notecards (including the 8 from the first conference) ● A written thesis statement
    ● A working outline for the paper

    A third conference with Ms. Leland will not be required but will be availalbe on an as-needed basis.

IAA | Writing About the Arts | Documented Research Essay | 2018


Documented Research Essay Rubric

Areas of Concern

Standards to Meet

Evidence of Exceding Standards


Content: This essay has clarity, organization, and development of topic. It includes a clear thesis statement.


Format: This writer uses accurate MLA format for in-text citations, headers, first page and Works Cited page.


Research: This writer quotes from at least five different sources, one of which is print and one of which is a Bonisteel Library database.


Mechanics: The writer skillfully masters spelling, punctuation, capitalization, grammar, and usage of Standard English.


Balance: There is an appropriate amount of sources in support of the central idea of the essay, as well as an appropriate balance between the writer’s words and the quoted material.


IAA | Writing About the Arts | Documented Research Essay | 2018



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