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American Art: Journal Articles and Research Databases

This guide features resources most useful to research American artists, American art history topics, and American artworks.

What is a "research database"

A research database is a search engine that allows you to locate quality journal articles and other scholarly material on a topic. Through the database you can link to full text content if owned by the Colby Libraries, or locate an art journal in print if owned by Colby.

Google Scholar: Find and Evaluate Sources

Google Scholar Search

Research Databases and Journal Articles

Scholarly vs. Popular Journals

Evaluate the quality of journal content by asking:

  • Does the journal identify itself as “peer-reviewed”?
  • Is there an abstract or summary at the beginning of the article?
  • Does the article include a bibliography?
  • Are there in-text citations (e.g., parenthetical references, endnotes, or footnotes)?
  • Does the author use specialized language, relevant to the subject area?
  • Determine the author's affiliation or credentials (e.g., is it with a college, university, or research organization)?
  • Determine the audience for the article? Is it written for fellow scholars in the field, for practitioners, or a general audience?
  • How many pages is the article? Is it substantial in length?
  • What kind of images does it contain? Are there many advertisements? Scholarly journals tend to have few.
  • Does the journal title refer to an academic discipline or specialized field of study? Often the title will include words such as journal, research, or review.


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