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ART 1020: Surface & Process: Research Questions for Studio Artists

What is a research question?

A research question is the focused and specific question you are trying to answer in your project. It can take the following formula:

  • How does [variable 1] affect [variable 2] in [population]?
    How does gender affect reactions to Starship robots in BGSU students?

But it is not required to take this formula. Other formulas:

  • What is the effect of [variable 1] on [activity] in [population]?
    What is the effect of using etextbooks on learning in college freshmen?
  • What is the effect of [variable 1] vs. [variable 2] on [population]?
    What is the effect of cancel culture vs. callout culture on politically active teens?
  • Does [variable 1] have a significant effect on [population]?
    Does overseas travel have a significant effect on young children?

Before you decide on your research question: brainstorm

Before you finalize your research question, explore a topic, interest or idea with general research. Get inspired by

  • A book you read
  • Artwork you saw
  • Current events
  • A recent experience

Google, free-write, read Wikipedia, talk to a friend, read a book. Develop keywords for the concepts you are interested in researching.


Get scholarly and primary sources. Think about your concept within an art context (what other art has been made about this concept?).

Sun Yuan and Peng Yu: "Can't Help Myself" (2016) from the 2019 Venice Biennale

Art Journals at BGSU


African Arts Aperture cover Archives of American Art Art Bulletin

African Arts
Devoted to the study and discussion of traditional, contemporary, and popular African arts and expressive cultures. Full text online in MIT Press (2007-present) and in JSTOR (to 2008).

Devoted to photography as art. Contains illustrated profiles of photographers or thematic material. In print at Jerome Library (to present) and full text online in Art Full Text (EBSCO), 1997 to present.
Archives of American Art
Covers all aspects of American art history from the 18th century to the most recent past, with fresh perspectives on American cultural and social history. In print at Jerome Library (to present) and full text online in JSTOR.
Art Bulletin
Contains research articles on topics from all periods of art history. Full text online in Art Full Text (EBSCO).
Art in America Art in Print Art Journal cover Artforum
Art in America
Covers contemporary art worldwide. In print at Jerome Library 1997 to present or full text online in Academic Search Complete (EBSCO), 2002 to present.
Art in Print
Includes critical and scholarly writing about artist’s prints, both historical and contemporary, as well as print information, news, and events. Full text online.
Art Journal
Provides a ideas and opinions that focuses on critical and aesthetic issues in the visual arts of our times. Full text online in JSTOR, and full text online in Art Full Text (EBSCO).
Covers the contemporary art world, with sections on architecture, music, advertising and reviews of contemporary exhibitions worldwide. In print at Jerome Library, 1996 to present.
ARTnews cover Bomb Cabinet Flash Art
Profiles of artists, surveys of gallery exhibits and international art news. In print at Jerome Library 1997 to present.
Creates, disseminates, and preserves artist-generated content in all disciplines, from interviews to artists’ essays to new literature. Full text online in JSTOR (1981-2014) and Art Full Text (1999-present).
Contains articles, interviews, commissioned projects, and special sections on international art and culture. In print at Jerome Library (2012-present).
Flash Art
An international magazine of contemporary art. Full Text online in Art Full Text (2003-present).
  Frieze cover Mousse cover Parkett Visible Language
A leading magazine of contemporary art and culture that includes essays, reviews and columns by forward-thinking contemporary writers, artists and curators. In print at Jerome Library (2013-present).
A bimonthly magazine of contemporary art containing articles, interviews, conversations, and essays by international critics, visual artists, and curators. In print at Jerome Library (2013-present).
Documents European and American contemporary art. Each issue covers several important artists and is produced in close collaboration with those artists. In print at Jerome Library (2012-present).
Visible Language
Independent, interdisciplinary, international scholarship in visible language - typefaces, signs, letterforms, word art and more. In print at Jerome Library (2004-present) and full text online in Art Full Text (EBSCO).

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Laura Sheets