Academic journal article The Qualitative Report

Madhubani Art: A Journey of an Education Researcher Seeking Self-Development Answers through Art and Self-Study

Academic journal article The Qualitative Report

Madhubani Art: A Journey of an Education Researcher Seeking Self-Development Answers through Art and Self-Study

Article excerpt

This study is situated within a self-study research methods course to scaffold doctoral students' explorations of the intersections of their culture, and research interests using arts as a tool. Embracing the arts as a research method, the first author painted a self-portrait using the vibrant colors of Madhubani art which holds cultural significance to her. She utilized Blumer's (1986) and Mead's (1934) theory of symbolic interactionism to explain the process of her self-development as a researcher. Combining her self-portrait with an earlier research study proved valuable as a conduit for understanding and interpreting her work as a research methodologist. This study is valuable to others interested in studying their practice and research identity through an arts-based research method. Key Words: Self-study, Arts-based Self-study, Madhubani Art, and Learning Qualitative Research

Introduction and Background

This work grew out of a newly designed doctoral level course taught by Anastasia that offered students an opportunity to both learn about and apply the self-study research methodology; a qualitative approach for systematically examining one's role and interest in an area of research with applications for improving one's situated professional practice. The course, self-study qualitative research methodology, included a comprehensive synthesis of the self-study literature: purposes, foundations, nature, and guidelines for application. Students learned about and applied self-study methodological requirements integrated with assignments that were individual and collective, personal and interpersonal, and private and public (Samaras & Freese, 2006). The methodology requires specific dispositions, i.e., openness, reflection, collaboration, validation with critical friends, transparent data analysis and process, and improvement-aimed work which contributes to professional knowledge. Class assignments are designed to stimulate deep reflection on the concept of the "self" within a professional/practitioner context.

Self-study is "a component of reflection where faculty and students are asked to critically examine their actions and the context of those actions as a way of developing a more consciously-driven mode of professional activity, as contrasted with action based on habit, tradition, or impulse" (Samaras, 2002). Self-study scholars inquire thoughtfully and deliberatively into their often taken-for-granted practice and the assumptions embedded in their practice. This reflective assessment pushes the researcher to a closer examination of one's research practice, an understanding of the impact of personal experience, and a reframed professional stance (Loughran, 2007). Researchers may recognize a disparity in what they believe and what they actually do in practice (Whitehead, 1989). Although there is a large body of research related to the self-study of teacher educators and teachers, particularly through arts-based research (e.g., Hamilton, Pinnegar, Russell, Loughran, & LaBoskey, 1998; Loughran & Russell, 1997, 2002; Mitchell & Weber, 1999; Russell & Korthagen, 1995; Samaras & Reed, 2000), there are limited examples of its usefulness to practitioners outside of the teaching profession. Anastasia invited students to explore the applicability of the methodology to their work as professionals and specifically to develop self-study research exemplars (Samaras et al., 2007).

Arts-based Self-Study Method

As self-study researchers we offer an example of utilizing one self-study method taught in this course, i.e., an arts-based self-study method as a research tool. The arts-based self-study method promotes and provokes self-reflection, critical analysis, and dialogue about improving one's research through the arts (Samaras & Freese, 2006). Arts-based self-study researchers use a wide range of art forms to represent and reinterpret, construct and deconstruct meaning, and communicate their study of researching as they make it public. …

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