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Architecture: Design Research

This guide covers how to identify relevant and reliable sources for research, how to navigate online and in-person resources at the University of Maryland, and how to cite sources within a research product.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • In what year range should the articles be in to be considered relevant?

It depends. I always would try to find current research, just because its more likely to have considered older research and determined whether they  were correct or not. However, some older research has not  been discredited or disproved, and is still true today.

So how can you tell? I would do some Googling to find out whether there have been any significant research breakthroughs that have changed the way scholars have done research to see if articles from today might say something different than an article from fifty years ago.

Long story short, try to get current articles.


  • How do you cite (MLA) an article or informational material that has no specified author?

Quick answer: You just leave it out of the citation and start with the article title. Unless the source has been created by a company or institution. Then, you cite that institution as the author. See here for how its done in books. Same thing.


  • Citing transcripts of a broadcast such as a radio podcast. Cite the audio or the web page of the transcript?

Here’s how its done in MLA:

Last, First. "Podcast title." Program title. Publisher/Sponsor, Date of podcast. Title of Website. Web. Date accessed.

Here’s an example:

Fogarty, Mignon. "Are You Annoyingly Redundant?" Grammar Girl. Audible, 7 Aug. 2009. Quick and Dirty Tips. Web. 20 Aug. 2009.

Other citation styles, like APA and Chicago cite it differently, but this is how its done in MLA.

  • Are videos scholarly? How do you cite them? How do you cite an article you found in a large book? Online?

Well, because they are usually not produced by an academic studying a particular field of research and are not peer-reviewed by an academic journal, no. However, they can still be important for research and can be cited if you  refer to them. However, you should not take what they say as fact and it doesn’t count as a scholarly source.

Here’s how to cite one in MLA.

If the book is a periodical (check to see if it has a volume and issue number), then cite it like this:

Author(s). "Title of Article." Title of Journal Volume. Issue (Year): pages. Medium of publication.


Smith, John. "Conflicting Nationalisms: The Voice of the Subaltern in Mahasweta Devi's Bashai Tudu." Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature 15.1 (1996): 41-50. Print.

If the book is a collection of essays, or short entries, then cite it like this:

Last name, First name. "Title of Essay." Title of Collection. Ed. Editor's Name(s). City of Publication: Publisher, Year. Page range of entry. Medium of Publication.


Harris, Muriel. "Talk to Me: Engaging Reluctant Writers." A Tutor's Guide: Helping Writers One to One. Ed. Ben Rafoth. Portsmouth: Heinemann, 2000. 24-34. Print.


  • What citation sources do you recommend?

Refer to OWL Purdue and make your own citations. There are ways to automatically formulate citations, like EasyBib or a Word template, but these are almost always incorrect in some way. If you do use them, double check to make sure they are right. 


  • What to do if your topic only has one result.

Explore different keywords and synonyms. Start with a broad search and add one or two keywords at a time. Remember that a database does not rank results by popularity like Google, so make sure you are trying different searches and scrolling down to look at a few pages of results each time. 

Try different databases to see if you get different results. If you can find one good article, look at the bibliography and use Citation Finder to see if you can find the articles it cites. 

Don't forget to look for books through the catalog. Remember that one building or architect may be part of a larger book about the time period, style, etc. 


  • Any tips on not so common or hard to find subjects?

Try the same search strategies in the question above. Also, there may be additional databases that might be useful to you. Contact a librarian to find some you can try your search in. 


  • How do you cite a picture, for example: a drawing of a building?

Here's how it's done: 

For photographic reproductions of artwork (e.g. images of artwork in a book), cite the bibliographic information as above followed by the information for the source in which the photograph appears, including page or reference numbers (plate, figure, etc.).

Goya, Francisco. The Family of Charles IV. 1800. Museo del Prado, Madrid. Gardener's Art Through the Ages. 10th ed. By Richard G. Tansey and Fred S. Kleiner. Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace. 939. Print.