Skip to main content

FASH 782 - Fashion Theory - Antoine: Research Process and Resources

Research resources and tips for FASH 782 - Savannah - Fall 2018

Explore The Research Cycle

The research process is iterative and organic, and requires the use of varied information sources. Click the tabs below to identify research steps and resources.

The Research Cycle - Click Tabs Below

Research starts with an initial idea or question, which is often vague or unfamiliar. This can be developed into a well-formed topic through iterative reading, exploration and brainstorming.

While looking for information, consider:

  • Why is this topic important and interesting to yourself, and to others?
  • What are the key terms and concepts?
  • What are some specific examples? (designers, styles, materials, pieces, etc.)
  • What are the important time periods or milestones?
  • Which cultures and places relate?
  • Are there too many search results? Try using terms that are more specific.
  • Are there too few search results? Try using terms that are more general.

After reading and testing a few sources, take a moment to reflect. Is there a particular concept that has grabbed your interest, that you would like to continue to explore? Does this topic seem feasible to research: not too general nor too obscure? Is the topic relevant to this class, and to the field of fashion? If still unsure, brainstorm a new angle on your idea, and re-try the search. Trial and error is the key to topic development.

Suggested information sources:

Encyclopedias (online or printed) provide summaries and references to related sources:

Books and ebooks will explore a topic from many angles. Use the "Books and More" search box at the right or:

With a better understanding of your direction, continue to investigate and test your topic(s) or question(s). Scholarly research sources will add focus and depth.

Take note of:

  • Influential or impactful sources (e.g. heavily cited books and articles)
  • Researchers / authors who specialize in the topic you've chosen
  • Theories and methods used by fashion researchers
  • Books, articles & other sources that appear in citations/ bibliographies

Continue to reflect and refine your research. It will still be necessary to try multiple searches/sources. Remember that there will not be a 'perfect' source. Instead, a number of sources (some more relevant than others) will be combined in a new way.

Suggested information sources:

Scholarly fashion journals provide the most targeted and advanced research for this course:

Art and design databases can be used to explore a number of journals and magazines in fashion, design, fine art and more:

Books and e-books are still useful at this stage, especially exhibition catalogs and scholarly books. Use the 'Books and More' search box to the right.

Fashion does not exist in a vacuum. Interdisciplinary research - using sources outside the field of fashion - can provide perspectives that expand on what you have already found.

Look for and consider:

  • Interdisciplinary concepts mentioned within the fashion literature you have read
  • Communication, gender studies, psychology, or other disciplines may be relevant to your topic
  • Key words/terms used in other disciplines, which may differ from fashion terminology
  • Example works from other visual disciplines (e.g. film, fine art, advertising) that may be worth examining

It is not necessary to include information from a broad range of disciplines. Identifying just one key idea from one other discipline may be enough.

Suggested information sources:

Use databases and search engines that cover multiple disciplines, or that focus on a research area other than fashion or art:

Primary sources are information, images or objects that are contemporaneous to your research topic. They provide evidence of what was produced, what took place, what was said, how people reacted, and more.

Look for and consider:

  • Limit search results to a key date or period for your topic, to see what was reported at that time
  • Who has the 'voice' in the source? Is it the creator or originator, or someone else?
  • In what ways did the initial reception or conversation differ than it does today?
  • When using images, video or other visual evidence - look closely and describe and analyze what you see

Even just one or two strong examples of primary sources may be enough for your research.

Suggested information sources:

Primary sources can come from almost anywhere and need not be limited to library research. That said, here are a few library resources that provide primary source material:

Research is an iterative and organic process. Sometimes it's necessary to move backwards, as well as forwards.

Throughout the research process, periodically step back and reflect:

  • Have I found enough sources to thoroughly support my research statement, questions and topics?
  • If not, what's missing?
  • Is my research taking a new direction?
  • If so how does it relate to the main question or topic - should I re-focus? Or stick to the original plan?
  • Have I found concrete examples that explain and demonstrate my topic?
  • Have I acknowledged multiple viewpoints or angles in my research?

Other people can be a source of information and support as well.

  • Speak with your professor if having problems choosing a topic, or if you need to change or substantially revise a topic.
  • Contact the library reference desk for quick research help, or schedule a consultation to discuss research in-depth with a librarian.
  • Contact the Writers' Studio for assistance outlining and writing your statement, paper or presentation.
  • Chat with a classmate or friend about your paper to get informal feedback and a fresh perspective.

Articles and More: Catalog Plus

Use this search box to obtain a wide array of sources - books, eBooks, articles and more - from the library's catalog and most databases.

Books and More: Classic Catalog

Locate books, ebooks, DVDs, theses, reserves, and special collections materials.

Locate Journals and Magazines By Title

Search below for journals, magazines and newspapers by title (e.g., Design Issues, Artforum, New York Times).

Search for electronic periodicals

Search for printed periodicals
Title begins with: