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  • Otis Fine Arts hosts a Visiting Artist lecture series featuring Oliver Payne, a Los Angeles-based artist. Read more about him here.
    Contact: Soo Kim, skim@otis.edu
  • Please join the Digital Media Department for a lecture by  Alina Chau.
    Chau is an Animator, Illustrator and Storyboard artist who has worked with Lucasfilm Animation, Technicolor Interactive Services, and Electronic Arts.  
    Alina Chau received her MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles. She spent over a decade working in the animation industry. Her most notable credit is on LucasFilm’s Emmy Award Winning program, “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.”
  • Kimberli Meyer trained as an architect and an artist, and has been the director of the MAK Center for Art and Architecture at the Schindler House in West Hollywood since 2002. She has initiated and curated many programs there, including the exhibitions How Many Billboards?

  • Industry Spotlight

    Oct 15| Special Event

    An advertising creative director for more than 25 years, Otis alumnus Josh Weltman was the Mad Men co-producer responsible for Don Draper's credibility as an advertising genius.

    Join us for a behind-the-scenes look at the hit series, plus hear key insights from Weltman's new book Seducing Strangers: How to Get People to Buy What You're Selling.

  • Otis Fine Arts hosts a Visiting Artist lecture series featuring Yutaka Makino. He lives and works in Berlin.  Read more about him here.
    Contact: Soo Kim, skim@otis.edu
  • Susan Choi’s first novel, The Foreign Student, won the Asian-American Literary Award for fiction, and her second novel, American Woman, was a finalist for the 2004 Pulitzer Prize. Her most recent novel, A Person of Interest, was a finalist for the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Award. With David Remnick she co-edited the anthology Wonderful Town: New York Stories from The New Yorker. A recipient of fellowships from the NEA and the Guggenheim Foundation, and in 2010, the inaugural winner of the PEN/W.G. Sebald Award, Choi lives in Brooklyn.

  • Joe Sola (‘99)’s work has been exhibited internationally in galleries and museums including: The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Hammer Museum, The Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, The Andy Warhol Museum  and Kunsthaus Gras, Austria, Museum of Modern Art Jean-Duc, Luxembourg. Museo Rufino Tamayo, Mexico City.  His performances have taken place at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, MOT International in London, 356 Mission Rd, Los Angeles.


Example: Beginning Your Research

Using the topic of Matt Groening and the Simpsons, let's find information that provides academic viewpoints related to the cultural significance of this artist and his work.

1. Start with the OPAC, the Library catalog, to find books.

Because this database is relatively small, try a key word search to see the broadest range of what's available.

Simpsons - OPAC header



You'll get 25 items, a reasonable number to look through. Look carefully at each title. Some are comics written by Matt Groening, some DVDs, some are electronic books. There are one or two items that may provide an academic treatment of the subject.

Leaving Springfield :The Simpsons and the Possibilities of Oppositional Culture is around #10 on the list. Click on the title which is a link to the full record for this book. You'll find clues about its scope. Notice that the publisher is Wayne State University. Read the Table of Contents. From chapter titles, you'll easily see that this is likely a scholarly or academic source.


  Simpsons - Complete Guide (cover)



Simpsons- Leaving Springfield (cover)


2. Next, try the databases.

Click on the link to EBSCO Art Source.




Enter your search term in the search box.

This database is much bigger than the OPAC. A keyword search on the Simpsons will result in more than 1800 results.

ebsco simpsons

3. Look carefully at the first 40 results or so.

Many are "false hits" for this topic. That means that they aren't about Matt Groening's Simpsons. They are about other people named Simpson.

Notice that you can check the boxes for Full Text and Scholarly/Peer Reviewed and hit update. That will limit the number of hits to about 164. But there are still way too many false hits.

So, add another term to the search box, like "tv."

You will then see only 3 results. MUCH better!




Simpsons - EBSCO result

If you click this title, you'll see that it's a link to the complete  ABSTRACT or  summary which says:

Reading the interplay between text, audience, and institutional context, this article critically examines the distinctiveness of The Simpsons. It explores how the animated series uses textual strategies that are interesting to and challenging for both (postmodern) critical theory and processes of interpretation , including existing critical writing on the program.

From this ABSTRACT you can tell that this article contains a critical or theoretical analysis of the Simpsons.


4. Compare the results from database with what you find through Google.

Because the web is so enormous, using more terms is wise. Even so, the results are over 1.5 million hits.

Notice that a lot of fan sites come up. Most of these will not be useful for an academic paper.

Wikipedia comes up. Fine for background information, but it's really very superficial and fact-based. Look at the article and compare it with the scholarly articles that were retrieved through the database. Nothing in Wikipedia comes close to that level of writing.

The web is good for getting ideas and basic background information. But, you need more than facts for college level research papers. Books and journal articles with scholarly writing will be necessary.

 LIB simpsons google