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Performing Arts: Exercises

Starting points when looking for information

  1. Define what you need, example:  I need sources on the history of performing arts.
  2. Make a mind map or list of search terms, e.g. theatre, dance, history, theatre history, performing arts, Shakespeare, antique (time), 1800s, Finland (geography), Europe, Jukka O. Miettinen (possible author), qualitative research (process and method) etc.
  3. Think about what kind of sources you need, e.g. books, magazines, e-magazines, articles, (domestic, international), scientific research, popular science articles, photographs or video etc.
  4. Go to the most suitable database
    ARSCA – art library collection database, contains reference data on books and magazines and some e-books.
    FINNA – larger collection database, contains the same data as in ARSCA but also e-material purchased by the Library, e.g. magazines.
    Go straight to the database of your choice (link to database list) or to Google Scholar.

ARSCA exercise


Find the following book:
Author: Brockett, Oscar G.
Title: Making the scene: a history of stage design and technology in Europe and the United States / Oscar G. Brockett, Margaret Mitchell, Linda Hardberger.
Published: San Antonio, Tex.: Tobin Theatre Arts Fund, 2010.

  • In which library is the book located?



Taideyliopiston kirjaston kokoelmatietokanta


Finna exercise


Find the article ‘Cinematography: A Very Brief History of Cinematography’ on Finna.

  • From which databases is the article available?

Search service of Uniarts Helsinki Library material, including e-material.



Periodical or scientific journal?


Read an article of your choice in magazine PAJ : a journal of performance and art (found in the Theatre Academy Library).

Answer the following questions:

  1. Is the article scientific and if so, what makes you say that?
  2. Who is the publisher? What do you know about the publisher?
  3. Does the article contain references to other sources? If so, which sources?
  4. How could you make use of this article in your own studies?
  5. What did you find interesting in the article?

Google Books exercise

Google Book Search


You need a certain e-book, e.g. Perspectives on Contemporary Theatre (1971). Author Oscar G. Brockett.

Go to Google Books.

Search by either title or author. You can also find e-books through using search terms.

  • Up to what chapter is the book available in Google Books?

Artistic research

Research at Uniarts Helsinki is focused on artistic research at the Theatre Academy and the Academy of Fine Arts.


  1.      What is meant by artistic research?
  2.      What kind of topics could you study from the perspective of artistic research within your own degree programme?
  3.      Retrieve a thesis project (doctoral thesis) in artistic research, published at Uniarts Helsinki, from ARSCA.
  4. Which one did you retrieve?
  5. Mark it as a source reference
  6. What is the doctoral thesis about?

BOOLEAN operators

Boolean operators are commonly used in databases for the purpose of combining or limiting search terms.

  • AND
    requires all search terms to appear in the results. The number of results may therefore be small.
    Example: when looking for sources on directing actors, search with: näyttel? AND ohja?
  • OR
    creates the alternative that some search terms appear in the results. The number of results will be larger.
    Example:  when looking for sources on lighting design in dance productions, search with: valos? OR tanssi?
  • NOT
    omits the search term and thereby makes it possible to arrive at a more narrow field of responses.



‘Challenge your knowledge’ exercise

  1. How do you identify a fake news item?
  2. What is the difference between an opinion article and an interview or a scientific article?
  3. What does it mean that a scientific article is peer reviewed?
  4. List some reliable sources of information (on what grounds)?
  5. When is it okay to use Wikipedia?

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