Remember: Thesis research is an iterative process, much like the design process.
Bear in mind that your research question and thesis premise will evolve as you progress in your research. This is good! Trying to force your research findings to fit your original question is not only unscholarly, it will result in less original and thought-provoking research outcomes.
The pages included in this guide to Senior Thesis Research are intended to direct you to helpful resources available to you through Princeton University Library, but many valuable resources exist outside of our library system as well. Make an appointment with me to discuss your topic, and I can help you identify materials that will be useful to your research process. I am available for drop-in research meetings (stop by my office in the Architecture Library, Monday to Friday, 10am-4pm), or by appointment, in person or via Zoom. Happy researching to you!
Start by keeping track of EVERYTHING you read, consult, annotate, etc., because this gives you a headstart on creating your bibliography, footnotes, and/or endnotes. It is nearly impossible to retrace your research steps effectively at the end of the process, so do yourself a favor by keeping track from the start.
Keep a digital file (or analog notebook) of research notes from day one, including quotations from articles and books, notes on or copies of images and where to find them, et cetera, whenever you find something that speaks to your research question. These notes and clippings will inform the development of your research question, and will also begin to form the content of your written thesis.
Pick a citation management system to learn and love. Not sure which one to pick? See an overview here. You may find it helpful to add books and articles to a working bibliography as you search for them rather than later, as you read them. Princeton University Library offers periodic training in various citation management systems.
Online & Print Materials:
The Princeton University Library system holds an incredible array of resources, and all collections are available for you to use. In addition to the online content available, explore PUL's vast collection of print materials in UES, Firestone, and Marquand. Also keep in mind that the Engineering Library has an entire collection devoted to architectural and structural engineering.
About Indexes and Databases:
Princeton subscribes to thousands of article indexes and research databases that you can use to identify both primary sources and secondary literature on your topic. Good starting places are the Avery Index and Urban Studies Abstracts. For help identifying other databases related to your topic, ask me. To browse all indexes and databases supporting some facet of architecture and architecture history, see this page.
FALL 2021 Library Use In-Person: Welcome back to the library! We are so pleased to have you on campus in person. Please follow all current guidelines for pandemic safety on campus.
Meet with the architecture librarian: FALL 2021: I am available in person for brief consultations - my office is S204C in the Architecture Library. I am also available for longer research meetings via Zoom 5 days a week - just email me to set up a time. I can help you to identify materials in the Libraries' collections that can support your topic, identify collections or archives beyond Princeton that you should plan to visit, and generally assist in planning and strategizing your research for the academic year.
Purchase Recommendations: Need materials specific to your thesis that the library does not own? Feel free to recommend a purchase, however mainstream or rare. Submit a request through this form or send an email request directly to the architecture librarian.
SoA Library Student Carrels: Carrels are available for daily use, but please note that all materials left on the carrels will be reshelved at the end of each day.
Marquand's Architecture Reading Room: For the duration of the Princeton University Art Museum renovation project, Marquand Library collections are being served in a temporary space in Firestone Library, Special Collections. Review current Marquand policies and procedures here.