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John M. Flaxman Library SAIC School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Research Studio I, II & T Research Guide

Assignment Checklist

  • Check that your expectations for sources are clear. If you ask for “peer-reviewed”, “scholarly”, or “primary” sources, explain what you mean by that.
  • Check to make sure any URLs, whether on the syllabus or in Canvas, are still active.
  • Check that you require a specific style guide, such as MLA or Chicago, for students to follow.

Instruction Menu

Flaxman librarians collaborate with faculty across all departments at SAIC to teach traditional and non-traditional research skills to students. We can host an instruction session in the Library, or meet you in your classroom.

  • From Artist Book to Research Paper: Schedule your Special Collections + Main Collections visit for the same day! Start off in Special Collections with some primary source material, then head upstairs to the Main Collections where students can start to research items of interest.

  • Artist research: our most popular instruction session! Includes a demo of straightforward library research skills, plus active learning time for students to begin in-library research using library catalog and article databases.

  • Choosing a contemporary artist to research: In the library classroom, librarians present a collection of approximately 30 contemporary art survey books for students to browse ( Art 21, Cream series, Vitamin, regional contemporary art books, etc. Once students have chosen an artist from these books, librarians present next steps in research, like how to find books/articles on a specific artist using the library catalog and databases.

  • Object-based learning with Found Objects: Utilizing a curate group of items from the Flaxman "Found in the Library" archive, students use these objects as a starting point for their research, ideally highlighting the transferable skill set of keyword generation and iterative searching.

  • Dérive: Students use methods generated during our bibliodérive event to explore the library in different ways. These activities can include serendipitous browsing the stacks, creating a group bibliography, using media to inspire their search, or even exploring the use of the exquisite corpse exercise.

  • Create your own session: bring your ideas and collaborate with a librarian for a tailor-made visit.

These instruction sessions can be tailored to specific course materials -- new ideas on library collaboration is always encouraged!

  • Remix | Art as Appropriation: Students will look at images gathered from the Instagram account Whos_Who, a curated collection of art that features work with clear visual similarities, engaging students in conversations around appropriation, plagiarism, and derivation.

  • Google it!: learn how to get the most out of Google. Librarians explain how Google works, demo Advanced Searching, Image Searching, Google Books, and Google Scholar. Compare and contrast results from Google and those from the library resources. Class ends with a discussion of clip from Safiya Noble, author of Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism.

  • Resource Evaluation: students will develop skills to evaluate web and print resources by asking important questions of the content. Who wrote this? Who was it written for? How do I know if this is important to my research?

  • Fake News?: Students will develop skills to evaluate web and print resources by asking important questions of the content. Who wrote this? Who was it written for? How do I know if this is important to my research?

  • Scholarly Article Autopsy: Lesson plan designed by Krista Bowers Sharpe, this activity asks students to work in groups to systematically examine a scholarly article in depth, identify and evaluate its various components visually and in writing, and then compare it to a non-scholarly article on the same topic.

  • Place Your Work This lesson plan asks students to situate their own artistic practice within an already existing exhibition. Students are then asked to create a faux tip-in page to that includes their own work and physically places it within the pages of an exhibition text. 

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Flaxman Library
John M. Flaxman Library
School of the Art Institute of Chicago
37 S. Wabash, 6th floor
Chicago IL 60603