Examine the work; DO NOT rely on photographs or reproductions when writing about art. Reproductions serve as useful tools but obviously black and white illustrations of a painting or even those in color can be very misleading.
Read the label carefully; some labels may simply identify the artist, title, date, media, donor, and accession number; didactic labels may provide provenance information, a condition report, and discuss the work in relationship to other works.
Analyse what you know about the work: the artist’s name, the date, the medium, the stylistic period, the nationality, the subject matter.
Begin your research with that you know; if you know the artist’s name, look for biographical and oeuvre information; if you know the subject or period, look for comparable work.
Examine publications from the Spencer Museum of Art, such as collection catalogs, journals, and exhibition catalogs, which may contain information on the specific work.