NDEO Research in Dance Education Project

By Hagood, Thomas K. | Dance Magazine, October 2003 | Go to article overview

NDEO Research in Dance Education Project


Hagood, Thomas K., Dance Magazine


The National Dance Education Organization (NDEO) will debut an important new product at its fifth annual conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico, October 15-19. The Research in Dance Education database (RDEdb) is the result of a three-year project funded by the U.S. Department of Education to unearth decades of work in dance education buried in libraries, archives, and independent collections all over the U.S. (see "Dance Educators Get $677,,000 to Prove Their Worth," News, DANCE MAGAZINE May 2001, page 40).

With more than 2,500 entries, RDEdb is a library of detailed and cross-referenced information on research activities in dance education, including techniques, methodologies, summary analyses, and other descriptive information, which dates back to 1926, when the first academic program in dance was established at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Flee citation information is available at www.ndeo.org, and NDEO members and institutions can access additional levels of detail. Additional published and unpublished research can be submitted for review by completing an interactive from on the NDEO Web site.

NDEO has also announced a new Center for Research in Dance Education at Temple University in Philadelphia. Visitors interested in scholarly research can access the most extensive level of database information from this location. (More details about the center will be introduced at a Research Institute to be held at Temple University January 16-17, 2004.

For information and registration, contact info@ndeo.org.)

With RDEdb, dance educators now have a tool to address one of the biggest issues plaguing progress to dance education in America's schools--the lack of access to research that could substantiate their claims about the benefits of a dance education.

"Literature, and the research within, existed--we just didn't know where, by whom, date, locations, substance, or implications," Jane Bonbright, NDEO executive director, writes in the Journal of Dance Education. Bonbright says the task of locating existing research is complicated by the fact that dance education research is often included in periodicals or literature on other disciplines, such as anthropology, ethnography, educational psychology, physical education, and somatics and body therapies. She also points out that dissertations and theses are often not searchable via the Internet because universities don't always submit these unpublished materials to digital dissertation services.

In the summer of 2000, dozens of Research in Dance Education reviewers across the nation began looking at primary source materials from 109 graduate dance programs and universities and 190 publications and periodicals. They found hundreds of documents: published materials, unpublished master's theses. doctoral dissertations, conference reports and proceedings, and other independent monographs that have not received wide distribution. To make sense of it all. the project team invented the "Grid Matrix," Imagine a bank of mailboxes, like you might see at a post office, but organized in a slightly different way. These "boxes" all receive mail on one broad topic--research in dance education Each "letter" that comes into the post office is reviewed, then copies are assigned delivery to one or more mailboxes, depending on how many dance-related topics the document addresses.

The top row of the mailboxes is divided into twenty categories ("Issues"), such as dance education and health, or creative processes, or student achievement.

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