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Architecture Resources: Researching Architecture

Getting Started

Follow these steps to organize your research.

  1. Go to the Paper Topic tab for tips on choosing a topic.
  2. Define and Deconstruct Your Topic (see the Paper Topic tab).
  3. Go to the Citations tab to choose a style manual for your footnotes and bibliography.
  4. See the Basic Resources tab to find initial information about your paper topic.
  5. Refine Your Topic: Using the information you have gathered, determine if your research topic should be narrower or broader. You may need to search Basic Resources again using your new, focused topics and keywords.
  6. See the Searching Tips tab to find books for an in-depth discussion of your topic.
  7. Go to the Articles tab for resources containing current and retrospective information. Use Periodical Indexes to identify articles within periodical and newspaper titles.


Tips for Searching

In OskiCat search on keyword, title, subject, heading or author. 

Use truncation (*) for variations of words (e.g. architect*).  

Search subject headings, where available, for categories of topics.

by time period:
Architecture, Ancient
Architecture, Gothic
Architecture, Postmodern
Architecture, 20th century
by type of building or site:
Church architecture
Tall buildings
by location by city, state, or country:
Cliff dwellings--Southwest, New
Gardens-- France
by series and name of set:
Great ages of world architecture
Living architecture
Search for a specific architect or designer:
Borromini, Francesco
Burle Marx, Roberto
Morgan, Julia
by specific building or site:
Golden Gate Park--San Francisco, California
Machu Picchu site--Peru
Parthenon--Athens, Greece
by firms or organizations using corporate authors such as:
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
Society of Architectural Historians
Olmsted Brothers
by periodical (journal) titles:
Architectural history
Traditional dwellings and settlements review
Urban history

Your Paper Topic

Choose a topic.

Use the ARCHITECTURE 170 BOOK CART in the Environmental Design Library to browse general architecture histories, urban histories, images and plans to find a topic that appeals to you.

Define and deconstruct your topic. Plan your search.

Use the ARCH 170 EXERCISE to develop your topic.

  • Write your research topic as a question, subject idea or thesis statement.
    Example: What is unique about St. Paul's Cathedral in London?
  • List the main concepts.
    London; Church Architecture; Architecture, England
  • List key words, phrases and synonyms to search (include people, places, styles, buildings).
    building type = cathedral; church style/time period = 17th century; unique details = dome
    architect = Sir Christopher Wren; name of place = St. Paul's; location = London
  • Remember to include alternate spellings.
    Example: Vatican or Vaticano; Saint or S. or St. or Sainte or Ste.

Writing Research Papers about the Built Environment