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Media Arts & Culture

Getting Started

Topic Finding and Thesis Formation

  • Follow your interest.
  • Look for tensions, anomalies and unanswered questions.
  • What assumptions have been made in previous scholarship surrounding a topic?
  • What critical approaches have and haven't been taken with certain topics?
  • Narrow or broaden an area of interest, and look for ways you can situate an argument within a larger argument, or in opposition to another argument.
  • Look outside of film and media studies at other influences and factors that are related to your topic.

Initial Exploration

Writing and Research Resources

The Craft of Research by Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, Joseph M. Williams.  Q180.55.M4 B66 2003

A Short Guide to Writing About Art by Sylvan Barnet.  N7476 .B37 2003

The Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) guides

Reference Sources

Avenues to Finding Film and Video

The College's collection of Film and Video Materials are listed in OASys. One way to search for these items is the Advanced Keyword Search, an option from the main keyword search tab.

  • In order to limit your search to screenplays, add a subject search for Motion Picture Plays.
  • In order to limit your search to video recordings, under Location, select Library Video Room, OR
    • try adding as a keyword search "[videorecording]".
  • In order to limit your search to specific formats of video recordings, choose from the Material Type list.

Media Arts and Culture students also may have access to items in the cage collection. Please contact Diana Keeler (dkeeler@oxy.edu) for more info.

You can also search WorldCat for videos and screenplays in our library and others:

  • Try using a keyword search for Motion Picture Plays or Motion Picture Screenplays, OR
  • Execute a search for the title of the film you are interested in, and then select book from the Format limiters on the left.
  • In order to limit your search to video recordings, under Format select the appropriate format, or use the filters on the left to narrow your current search.

Search with Subject Headings

Keyword searches often retrieve too many results, including materials that are irrelevant to your topic. Meanwhile, Title searches can be too narrow and leave you with no results. The answer is an approach that figures somewhere in the middle: Subject Headings. Subject headings are terms (topics, proper names, geographic regions, etc.) that indicate the scope of a book or other resource. 

Try it yourself: you can copy and paste these example headings right into an OASys search for LC Subjects.

Technology and the arts
Popular culture
Intellectual property
Mass media and culture United States
Motion pictures and history
Motion picture authorship
Motion picture plays
Reality television programs

Wander the Bookshelves

BH 1-301 Aesthetics 1st floor, Old Wing
GN 301-674 Ethnology. Social and cultural anthropology 1st floor, Old Wing
GV 1469.15-1469.62 Computer games. Video games. Fantasy games 1st floor, Old Wing
PN 1993-1999 Motion pictures (Drama) Tier 3
TR 1-1050 Photography Tier 5
TR 845-1050 Cinematography. Motion pictures Tier 5

Get started