When researching a work of art, often we look for previous interpretations of that specific work of art. But most of the times such interpretations don't exist, instead researcher need to extrapolate information from the context surrounding a work of art and make new connections. To start, one should ask research questions like Who made this? What was it used for? What symbolism did it have? What was happening in society at the time is was made?
Thus research into a work of art often starts with more general information about the artists, the period, the style, the material, or the social context. It's the researchers job to then determine how the object relates to these contexts, thus creating new information and interpretions.