Research Methods and Methodologies for Art Education

By Pariser, David | Studies in Art Education, April 1, 1999 | Go to article overview

Research Methods and Methodologies for Art Education

Pariser, David, Studies in Art Education

For students eagerly planning their debutante fling in that great ballroom called Academic Research, it is important to know something about the varied dance steps that they will encounter-everything from the measured solemnity of the social science minuet to the Duncanesque mysteries of feminist free-form. It is wise for neophytes to be nimble on their toes, for an awkward dancer risks social disgrace.

The editors have done us all a favor by including certain dances and excluding others. In particular, there is the glaring absence of the unbalanced gyrations of the deconstructionists, critical theorists and other postmodern dervishes. And, as Gilbert and Sullivan have it, "They'll none of them be missed." Especially not in a book of this sort, which must have novice researchers in mind as part of its readership. It is always good educational practice to initiate learners into a field with the most typical and coherent instances of whatever one is studying. When studying mammals it is sensible to save the platypus until last.

The contents of this book will be useful to anyone wishing to do research in art education. With only a few exceptions the prose style of the essays is of good quality. What emerges from a reading is the absence of an over-arching strategy for art education research and the lack of a consensus as to what vital questions the field must address. But this lack of consensus is not a unique feature of research in art education. For example a comparable lack can be observed in the allied field of psychological research into creativity (Pariser, 1993).

I will give the flavor of this collection by touching on a couple of key chapters. For beginning researchers, a logical starting point might be Koroscik and Kowalchuk's very helpful chapter on decoding and critiquing journal articles. The authors give broad outlines of four sorts of scholarly articles and then they offer a methodical analysis of two empirical studies. (Both studies are found in full in an appendix). I used this chapter as a text in a graduate research methods class and most students found it very helpful.

Two comments: The authors analyze research projects with which they are closely connected (the work of Koroscik is referred to in both projectsand she is a co-investigator in one of them). As the world of research in art education is small, it was probably wise rather than simply self-serving for the authors to choose work with which they are associated. Obviously, they stand behind their own research and in dissecting it, they run no risk of offending anyone. The analysis offered is balanced, without being either scathing or lopsidedly laudatory.

A second point: Among the several helpful charts dealing with types of research, the authors present one on p.83 that distinguishes between "descriptive studies" (naturalistic) and "predictive studies"(experimental). The authors identify descriptive studies as those that ask the question "What is?" while predictive studies supposedly ask "What could be?" When members of my class read this we felt that this distinction was not helpful. For surely both experimental and naturalistic studies are concerned with investigating "What is." Both named approaches have, as their goal the creation of an articulated and credible representation of some piece of the world. Thus, the identified goals of these two sorts of research suggest a difference in objectives where none exists. This is not to deny the very real differences between naturalistic and experimental studies-it is just to suggest that both sorts of research do have at least one aim in common; namely the description of "what is."

Wilson's introductory chapter on research as a "second search" is a stimulating, if less methodical essay. Wilson makes it clear that, above all else, research should be driven by questions, not methodologies. This observation alone constitutes an important guidepost to novice researchers who all too often may be dazzled by the techniques and methods that they have learned to use, without formulating a question worthy of the name. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Research Methods and Methodologies for Art Education


Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

    New feature

    It is estimated that 1 in 10 people have dyslexia, and in an effort to make Questia easier to use for those people, we have added a new choice of font to the Reader. That font is called OpenDyslexic, and has been designed to help with some of the symptoms of dyslexia. For more information on this font, please visit

    To use OpenDyslexic, choose it from the Typeface list in Font settings.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search


    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.