Nota bene: 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 far less thought-provoking 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. Always feel free to contact me via email to set up a research appointment. 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.
SoA Library Student Carrels: UES no longer offers study carrels to SoA Seniors or M.Arch students. 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: Located on the A-Floor of Marquand Library, this room is reserved for School of Architecture students. Seniors may register for a hold shelf in this room where they can charge Marquand materials for the duration of the academic term. Review the Marquand policies and procedures for hold shelves.
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 to the architecture librarian.
Meet with the architecture librarian: 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.