Academic journal article International Research Journal of Arts and Humanities

The Atypical Creative Arts Research Methodology(s): Integrating Practice with Performance

Academic journal article International Research Journal of Arts and Humanities

The Atypical Creative Arts Research Methodology(s): Integrating Practice with Performance

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

'University academics in Creative Arts disciplines have long been seeking to have creative works acknowledged as research outputs' (Haseman & Mafe 2009, Marshall & Newton 2000, Smith & Dean 2009; also cited in Baker, 2011, p.17). But as Haseman (2007) additionally suggests, while exploring their pedagogical "practice," investigators belonging to other branches of study do not imply the same. This is because those researching in Science and Humanities tend to articulate a clear "analytical" or "theoretical landscape" as they deem it relevant to their procedures and fact finding inquiries (Andersson, 2009, p.4). But arts students, especially those practitioners who deal with the production of creative work, view their results 'as a source of artistic inspiration and zest, rather than as an analytical tool' (2009, p.4). Naturally, each area of study is ruled by a specific mechanism. And since words are spoken to get the point across, Brewster (2009) suggets it is far better to review the nature and context of creative arts research before discussing relevant methodology and outcome format.

2. Research Approach Adopted in Most Artistic Studies

Within the Creative Arts disciplines, researchers have increasingly recognised the direct contribution of experiential knowledge to shape creative practice (Barrett, 2007; Barrett & Bolt, 2007; Imani, 2007; Jarvis, 2007; Sutherland & Acord, 2007; cited in Gray& Schubert, 2009, p.88; Niedderer & Roworth-Stokes, 2007). Given that such a form of knowledge draws heavily on the interpretative viewpoint (Yee, 2009), the methodology for most studies emphasising creative practice is centred on the interpretivist research paradigm, 'derived philosophically from hermeneutics and phenomenology' (Yee, p.192).

Phenomenology refers to a philosophical doctrine based upon human understanding of events and environment not as they are but as they are perceived by individuals, whether truthfully or mistakenly (Storkerson, 2009, p. 148). It aims to 'bring intoconscious awareness that which we already in a sense know, andthat which resides in our background understanding' (McLaughlin, 2009, p. 117). Within phenomenological studies, subjective experiences of research participants are studied, and their understanding of a specific phenomenon is analysed, through the process of reflexivity (Yee, 2009, p. 193). The hermeneutic or heuristic component, of such research, generates a course of action wherein participants:

i. Use intuitive/experiential knowledge to arrive at conclusions, without knowing or witnessing how such knowledge was arrived at;

ii. Develop impulsive feeling of knowing accompanied by an impulse to do something, like critical analysis, contextual assessment or consciously created self-reports speculating on possibilities of what led to learning;

iii. Reason via non-complicated but probabilistic cognitive methods based on experiential likelihood and not flawless indicators; and

iv. Act creatively but produce valid, reliable, effective and actionable judgments, despite the open-ended and ambiguous situations (Storkerson, 2009, pp. 150-151).

The philosophical basis for the artistic research is mainly phenomenological, and hermeneutic, in the sense that it aims to examine creative practice as a phenomenon construed by the research participants (Davies, 2000), via 'an exploration of the structures of consciousness in (their personal) human experiences' (Husserl, 1931; Polkinghome, 1989). The objective of such research is to study individual students' learning experiences as determined through their samples of creative work. And since this form of study tends to be concerned with 'the phenomenological "science of essential being" dealing with "essences," not "facts" relating to the individual constructs around which individuals build their worlds' (ibid), it lies within the interpretivist paradigm.

This is detailed in Table 1 as follows:

The "ontological" position that most comfortably aligns with this paradigm might be described as "perspectival realism"(McLaughlin, 2009, p. …

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