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THEA 332/333, Costume History & Design: Home

A research guide for THEA 332, Costume & Fashion History and THEA 333, Costume Design

Basic Guide to Library Research


Research requires you to use the correct tools for each topic. Using the correct tools promotes quality research and saves you time and frustration.


Start your research project early by meeting with me! I'll show you the research tools you need, teach you to use the tools, and demonstrate how to search the theatre and dance databases to get the best results. Use my contact information on this, or any theatre and dance research guide, to get into touch.


Books are probably your best tool for biographies and general history. Biographical and historical articles are too specific and narrow. Subject encyclopedias such as the Encyclopedia of the Victorian Era will give you broad historical context. Playwright and designer biographies will do the same. Additionally, books such as the Cambridge Companion to Eugene O'Neill or the Cambridge Companion to Greek Comedy provide excellent, readable background.

Popular and News Articles and Journals

These are publications normally read for current information or pleasure. In theatre and dance, however, you will use a variety of news articles, and possibly some popular magazines, to locate reviews. Examples of popular magazines include New York and Time Out.

Trade Articles Journals

Trade journals are written for people in the profession.  They report on topics needed for success in your field. Examples of trade journals in theatre and dance are American Theatre and Dance Magazine.

Scholarly and Peer Reviewed Articles and Journals

While not technically the same, most professors and librarians use "scholarly" and "peer reviewed" interchangeably. Scholarly journals are comprised of peer reviewed articles. Experts and scholars submit research for publication, and experts in the same field (peers) scrutinize the articles, review the research, and recommend to the journal editor whether or not the article should be published. Peer reviewed articles are credible because they undergo this rigorous review.

Theatre and Dance Librarian

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David Vess