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ART H/PSYCH 222Q: Intersections between Art History and Psychology

Welcome to the library guide for the research paper in Dr. Samantha Kavky's ART H/PSYCH 222Q class at Penn State Berks.

Reference Librarian

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Brett Spencer
Office 108, Thun Library, Penn State Berks
(610) 396-6261
Subjects: Campus: Berks

Interlibrary Loan (ILLIAD)

Using and Comparing Interpretations

"One challenge is to carefully distinguish between your own ideas and that of others, as well as comparing the ideas of different authors. I do want you to draw your own opinions and develop your own ideas. However, remember that there are experts and you want to use their expertise to help you understand and analyze your topic. Be diligent about giving these authors credit! It in no way detracts from your own creativity! In fact, it shows the depth and quality of your research. Learn how to refer to, quote and cite sources correctly! It never fails to impress! "  --From Dr. Kavky's assignment

a book with a blue arrow

How to Find Sources by the Artist

  • Look for the artist's official web site.  Many artists offer "statements" on their site that discuss the messages and contexts of their artwork.
  • Type in the name of the artist and the word interview.  You can find often find interviews on newspaper web sites.
  • Search for the artist as an "Author" in the CAT.

A male artist painting a grid of red hearts on a canvas

Research Paper

a silver, classic movie projector with reelsBasic Requirements for the Research Project:

"Possible topics will include but not be limited to: artists, past or present, who focus on, or have been diagnosed with mental illness, the contemporary use of art therapy to diagnose or treat mental illness, contemporary representations of the “mad artist” in art, literature or film."

 --From Dr. Kavky's assignment



Acceptable sources have a high level of credibility.  Credibility can arise from subject expertise.  Sources by authors who are experts in art, history, or psychology (and whose work is reviewed by experts) have credibility.  In addition, sources by the authors themselves about their work are also highly credible--the artists are experts on their work.

Acceptable Sources

        Sources by Scholars and Experts

  • Scholarly journal articles (required to have some)--these are a special type of article that are written by scholars (professors), published in journals, often have long lists of citations.  Check out this example--you might recognize the author!
  • Book (required to have some)--you can find books at Thun Library or order books from other campuses if Thun does not have what you need.
  • Critical reviews of exhibitions--these are well-thought-out, substantial reviews of exhibitions by your artists.  They are often found in art journals or credible newspapers like the New York Times.  Please be aware that the reviews are opinions.

        Sources by the Artist  

  • The author's web site or blog (if the artist has written the site)
  • The artist's memoirs or autobiographies
  • Interviews with the artists that appeared in newspapers, magazines, TV news shows


Unacceptable Sources

  • Wikipedia
  • Web Sites that lack credibility
  • Exhibition reviews that are not scholarly (some exhibition reviews only offer dates and times of the exhibit and very short summaries of the artwork--avoid these).


💥 Source Quiz

Are the following sources acceptable or unacceptable?

How To Find Scholarly, Peer-reviewed Journal Articles

Search for the name of the artist along with a mental illness they dealt with:

"Edward Munch" AND depression

Power Tip: You can enclose the author's name in quotation marks to perform an exact phrase search.


What if this search strategy doesn't find enough good sources? 

1. Try slightly different search words:

"Edward Munch" AND despair

2. Switch to another database.  If JSTOR does not find enough, try Art Full Text instead.

3.  Consider changing the topic slightly, maybe changing the artist or mental illness.


How To Find Scholarly Books

The CAT is the main search tool for finding books at all Penn State Libraries.

--If you are researching artists, you can type the name of the artist in quotation marks in the CAT (after you search, you can also use the filters on the right sidebar to select "Visual Arts").

"Andy Warhol"

--Look for books on movements or trends in contemporary art that may include a discussion of your artist.  For example, if I can't find books solely on Andy Warhol, I could type in pop art and look through books on pop art for mentions of Andy Warhol.


a blue button from the Catalog that says "I want It"