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Documentary Film and Television

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General Reference

Research assistance at the UCLA Arts Library is available in person on weekdays. See Research Help for complete reference service options.

Research Tip

In general, there is less published scholarly academic criticism available about individual documentaries compared to scripted Hollywood features. This means that for some films, you will need to find  more general topical writing on documentary technique and/or a subject, and pair it with popular press reviews and articles that help supplement your point.

For example, a film like Blackfish (2013) will have almost entirely popular press articles written about it online and in magazines. However, you can research the representation of animals and animal cruelty on film and in documentaries, social activism in documentaries, etc. Even if those sources don't directly discuss this particular film, you can apply them to your reading of it.


Find Basic Info and Bibliographies

Catalogs: Find Books

There are a number of library catalogs available to UCLA researchers. For further information on the catalogs and what they each contain, check out the Books Tab in this guide.


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Diana King
UCLA Arts Library
1400 Public Affairs Bldg.

Get Started with Articles: Major Databases

These online databases are good places to start searching for articles on film studies. For quick reference, hold your mouse over a link for a brief description of the resource. All of these are subscription resources from the Library, so you will need to make sure your computer is configured for off-campus access if you are researching from home.