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UNLV Libraries -> Architecture Studies Library -> Finding and Using Resources -> Module 14: ->Advanced Research - Finding information * Finding research studies * Research methods

Module 14: Advanced Research - Finding research studies

Some types of materials, like dissertations, are categorized as research studies. However research studies can be published as books, articles, conference papers, government documents, etc. Sometimes the best approach is to search for the topic, rather than for research studies – titles found may refer in text or bibliography to research upon which the text is based. Two examples are Romedi Passini’s Wayfinding in Architecture and William H. Whyte’s The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces, both of which discuss their research and resulting conclusions. Standards documents are also likely to refer to the research which resulted in the standard being formulated. An especially substantial example is the Time-Saver Standards for Urban Design, which includes excerpts of case studies and classic texts in service of their goal to identify and highlight “shared principles and practices.” None of these titles would be found by looking for the topic “research.”

Library CatalogsGo to top of page

A good start on finding research studies is to search the UNLV Libraries catalog using keywords architecture [or architectural] research. Specific subsets of research, such as post occupancy evaluations, can be found using those words. “Case studies” is another fruitful combination of keywords, especially if you limit your search to the Architecture Studies Library.

ProceedingsGo to top of page

Research papers are presented at conferences. Those papers are often published as “proceedings.” Much of this research is not indexed in the Avery Index. The researcher must identify the associations relevant to the field of study, determine whether they hold conferences for which proceedings are issued, and track down the proceedings. An example of a substantial body of research published as proceedings are the Proceedings of the Environmental Design Research Association. The Architecture Studies Library has EDRA proceedings from 1969 onward. Search the UNLV Libraries online catalog under the author Environmental Design Research Association. The Cumulative Index to the Proceedings of the Environmental Design Research Association: volumes 1-28, 1969-1997 is useful in searching for specific topics within the proceedings [call number NA2542.35 .E694 1998]. The proceedings are not found on the web, although some chapters can be found through the library’s online catalog! The Architecture Studies Library also has the ACADIA Proceedings (ACADIA, the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture).

The UNLV Libraries subscribes to Conference Papers Index, which indexes papers from 1982, and Papers First and Proceedings First which indexes from 1993 onward.

The Bibliography of the History of Art described under Bibliographies above also includes proceedings.

DissertationsGo to top of page

The UNLV Libraries has subscribed to a product called ProQuest Dissertations and Theses. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses contains over 1.5 million entries, providing citations to North American and European dissertations from 1861 forward, with abstracts from 1980 forward. It also provides citations and abstracts for theses from 1988 forward. Full-text of UNLV theses and dissertations is available from 1996 to the present. Full-text from all other institutions is available from 1997 to the present. For dissertations which are not online, try the UNLV Libraries Interlibrary Loan service

Case StudiesGo to top of page

Searching in the online catalog of the Architecture Studies Library by the keyword “case studies” produces more than 500 results. A combination of “case studies” with another keyword is more focused! The same type of search is effective in searching periodical indexes/databases. Do not forget to search the conference proceedings indexes/databases for case studies.

The Architecture Studies Library subscribes to the online Urban Land Institute Development Case Studies [check at the ASL desk for the password].

The Architecture Studies Library also subscribes to the online BuildingGreen Suite which contains case studies of High Performance Buildings [see section "Projects" in BuildingGreen].

Some of the research-oriented periodicals listed below include case studies. (jump to list)

The web has many case studies. The trick is to locate them. For instance there is an archive of urban design case studies at the University of Buffalo. This is the Rudy Bruner Award Digital Archive. If you know about this award [and it is featured in the Time-Saver Standards for Urban Design] it is easy. A google search for “Rudy Bruner” and “case studies” yields a list with the Buffalo archive in the first screen of results. However if you do a google search for “urban design” “case studies” the Bruner archive is not on the first three screens of results.

Government InformationGo to top of page

Governmental bodies at various levels issue documents that can be vital for research. More and more of those documents are available on the web. To find federal documents on the web do a site search on the Government Publications site or search the appropriate agency. For instance, for housing research, you could search the pages of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Agencies are listed on

Of course it is not always this straightforward. For instance, the National Institute of Standards and Technology investigated the collapse of the World Trade Center. Their investigation is on a separate set of pages at It is perhaps not readily apparent that NIST is part of the U.S. Commerce Department.

An index to technical literature produced under government contract to which the UNLV Libraries subscribes is the NTIS [National Technical Information Service] Index It provides access to bibliographic citations and summaries of U.S. Government-sponsored research, development, and engineering reports from 1964 onward and contains over 700,000 records dealing with such topics as the environment, health and safety, engineering, biotechnology, and business.

Annual ReviewsGo to top of page

One way to determine the state of the research in a particular area is to consult annual reviews which summarize research. The UNLV Libraries subscribes to full-text Annual Reviews which presents critical reviews of primary research literature from 1996 onward. Fields of interest in this online product include “environment and resources,” “political science,” “sociology,” “psychology,” and “materials research.” The Architecture Studies Library also has the
Advances in Environment, Behavior, and Design (1987-1997).

AssociationsGo to top of page

Associations with distinctive research interests are listed in Architecture and Building: A Guide to Internet Sources in the category “Research – Centers and Groups” For example, the list starts with

    American Institute of Steel Construction[]
    American National Standards Institute (ANSI)[]
    American Society for Testing and Materials[]
The American Institute of Architects is another source of research studies. Check their Knowledge Communities section for news and best practices.

PeriodicalsGo to top of page

Some periodicals are very research oriented. Scanning their issues is a way of becoming familiar with research in the field. Here are some of the research-oriented periodicals in the Architecture Studies Library. Use the online catalog to determine call numbers and holdings

Architectural Research Quarterly -- ARQ
Architectural Science Review
Architecture and Behaviour.
Environment and Behavior. Internet Access.
Environment and Planning B, Planning and Design
Journal of Architectural and Planning Research
Journal of Planning Education and Research
Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians
Landscape Journal
Landscape Research

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Questions? Ask the Architecture Studies Librarian online or any of the staff in the Architecture Studies Library. The general phone number for the library is 702-895-1959.

If you have comments about the usefulness of this module and/or how it can be improved, please contact Jeanne Brown, Architecture Studies Librarian, at

Revised 8/05

Monday, 17-Dec-2012 10:50:32 PST