By Marjorie Munsterberg

Writing About Art

APPENDIX IV: The Research Paper 


Doing the research

The First Draft

The Final Draft


1.  The assignment: 


Write a research paper of 8-10 pages about a single object on display in the Greek and Roman Galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  You must use at least four authoritative sources.  At least two of them must have appeared in print form first.  Cite them properly in your paper, using the Humanities version of the Chicago Manual style.


2.  Selecting a topic:


The student went to the galleries of Greek and Roman Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and selected three objects as possible topics for his paper.  The first was a Greek cuirass, the second a Roman portrait head, and the third a marble sarcophagus.  He looked at all three, taking notes and photographing the details that seemed significant.  It quickly became clear that the sarcophagus had many more aspects to discuss than the other works - its form, use, and complicated carvings with lots of figures arranged into different scenes.  He then went to the website of the museum (, which is easy to use because it is free, it is authoritative, and it contains a great deal of information about all kinds of works of art.  In the case of these three objects, searching with the museum numbers as well as the descriptive titles from the wall labels, the student found a lot of information about the sarcophagus, but almost nothing about the other two objects.  As a result, he selected the sarcophagus.  BE PRACTICAL IN YOUR CHOICE OF TOPIC!