Image: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum skylight - Creative Commons Licensed image cc sa - from Wikimedia Commons user T meltzer
Rarely does anyone get or even know enough at the outset of their research endeavor to be asking precisely the right questions. The more you know and learn about your topic of interest, the more likely your questions and approach to the topic will change; thus requiring you to do some more research with a better formulated or slightly different question or point of view.
Focusing on and obtaining a solid understanding of precisely what it is that you're trying to learn about is important.
If you aren't focused (typically the topic is too broad in scope), the research process is much harder as you will tend to "over explore" too many possibilities and exhaust yourself and the time you have for the your project in the process. This typically leads to many false starts (vs. just a few) and a "rush to the finish" that probably won't be your best work. Start early, be reflective about what you're doing, give yourself time to think and modify and the experience won't be as stressful.
Get a good start with a basic overview of the concepts involved with your research.
University libraries are organized differently than public libraries. In a university library browsing will not be the best way for you to find books on your topic. Example: You are looking for a book on Modernism. You will find books in N (Fine Art), NK (Decorative Arts), NA (Architecture), etc. Within each of those there are subclasses of information. It's complex! It is best to search the library catalog and write down the call number and title of the books that you think best meet your needs.
While Modernism can be a useful search term, it may be useful to search for a specific movement in modernism related to the work of art you chose.
While this is not a complete list, it does cover many of the major movements in Modernism.
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