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21 JULY 2013

Qualitative Research: systematic observations of social behaviour with no preconceived hypotheses to be tested

"Qualitative research is concerned with nonstatistical methods of inquiry and analysis of social phenomena. It draws on an inductive process in which themes and categories emerge through analysis of data collected by such techniques as interviews, observations, videotapes, and case studies. Samples are usually small and are often purposively selected. Qualitative research uses detailed descriptions from the perspective of the research participants themselves as a means of examining specific issues and problems under study.

Qualitative research differs from quantitative research in that the latter is characterized by the use of large samples, standardized measures, a deductive approach, and highly structured interview instruments to collect data for hypothesis testing (Marlow, 1993). In contrast to qualitative research, in quantitative research easily quantifiable categories are typically generated before the study and statistical techniques are used to analyze the data collected. Both qualitative and quantitative research are designed to build knowledge; they can be used as complementary strategies."

(Ruth McRoy)


ild knowledge • case studies • Christine Marlow • complementary strategies • data collection and analysisdeductive reasoning • descriptive validity reliability • detailed descriptions • enquiry and analysis • hypothesis testinginductive procedures • inductive process • large samples • nonstatistical methods • observations • problems under study • purposive selection • qualitative and quantitative research • qualitative research • quantifiable categories • quantitative researchresearch interview • research participants • Ruth McRoy • social phenomena • standardised measures • statistical techniques • structured interviews • themes and categories emerge • video (research method)


Simon Perkins
03 OCTOBER 2012

Creative practice research reported through epistolary video

"The result of my doctoral research was presented as a creative work and an exegesis. The research project was an autobiographical video production entitled, Lorne Story. This video production was in the form of a video postcard – an epistolary video reporting on the creative research practice as a creative video–specific research practice. The accompanying exegesis was also in the form of a report – a written letter reflecting upon the creative video research practice, and reflecting upon itself – as a creative written research practice. This approach suggested that both the practice and the exegesis are creative research practices – both separately and together. In my research, the relationship between the practice and the exegesis also developed as a correspondence between practices."

(Stephen Goddard, 2007, p.113)

Goddard, S. (2007). Correspondence Between Practices. "Practice as Research: Approaches to Creative Arts Enquiry". E. Barrett and B. Bolt, I.B.Tauris & Co Ltd. [–as–Research].


2007artwork and exegesis • autobiographical video narration • autobiographical video production • correspondence between practices • creative arts research practice • creative research practice • creative video research practice • creative work • creative written research practice • critical reflectiondoctoral degreedoctoral researchepistolary narrative • epistolary video • exegesisfield diaryfragmentary storiesLorne StoryPhDpostcardpractical projectreflective exegesisStephen Goddardvideo (research method) • video notebook • video postcard • video production • video-specific research practice • written componentwritten exegesis • written letter


Simon Perkins
30 JULY 2012

Communicating and discovering insight through reflective journals

A reflective journal is both a communication tool and a design method for developing professional practice. Such journals allow designers to publish their projects as they progress and provide a platform for critically reflecting on creative works and the design process.

Reflective journals can be used to discover insight about how designers approach their creative problem–solving. This is commonly understood as a central requirement for designers to develop their professionalism and to become experts in the field. They do so through reflecting on their work – characterising common features and critically analysing successes and failures.

Reflective journals also help designers situate their work within the broader creative industries and contemporary visual culture context. Designers might use their journal to document developing trends and to collect examples of inspirational works. These collections might be made as part of the research phase of a given project or contribute to a more general understanding of a design field.

Such journals should take an appropriate form so that they communicate effectively and provide necessary insight. They might exist in a singular form e.g. a workbook, a weblog or they might exist as a collection e.g. as a workbook of sketches with notes/annotations and as a weblog/Tumblr of photographs/videos with associated critical reflections.

The following are examples of art and design reflective journals:



Simon Perkins
23 NOVEMBER 2011

Practice-led/practice-based research methods

"To date, there is no definitive published single source on research methods for artists and designers. The following methods are drawn from a range of sources, most importantly from validated completed formal research in Art and Design (main sources: ARIAD–; British Library's Index to Theses–, Higher Education institutes' published information), as well as useful examples of research projects in non–formal frameworks (for example, industry, commerce, education, and so on) as reported in various journals and professional publications. An examination of some of these examples would no doubt lead to 'classic' references to various 'design methods' publications by, for example, Archer (1965), Jones (1980), Cross (1984), and so on; and important research by Cornock (1978, 1983, 1984) on Fine Art methodology. During recent years, many more examples of practice–based research have become accessible. Many have already been cited in previous chapters and more are cited in this one.

These methods are particularly useful if your own practice forms part of the research methodology.

Other methods described come from Social Science research, for example (accessed 15 August 2003); Denzin and Lincoln (1994); and some specifically from educational research, for example Cohen and Manion (1994), McKernan (1998). These are particularly relevant for human inquiry related to Art and Design, for example the study of an individual's practice, and user feedback for designed products. In some circumstances, particular areas of design, for example industrial design, a more scientific approach may be appropriate, in which case 'design methods' may be useful. Documented examples of projects using design methods can be found in the journal Design Studies– (accessed 16 June 2003). The range of methods outlined is by no means definitive or completely comprehensive, and they cannot be described here in any great detail. If you think that a particular method described in this book would be useful in your project then you should discuss it with your supervisor. You should always follow up the references and examples given in order to appreciate the context in which the method was used. As you become more familiar with various methods you will realize the kind of tasks involved in applying them. Once you have identified these tasks, build them into your plan of work. Research methods development relies on researchers (including you!) adding further detail and modifying as a method is tried and evaluated."

(Carole Gray and Julian Malins, 2004, pp.104– 120)

[Gray and Malins outline the selection and use of common practice–led/practice–based research methods including: Practice; Photography, Video, 3D Models/maquettes, Reflective journal/Research diary, Audio reflection, 'Sweatbox', Case study, Interview, Questionnaire, Personal constructs.]

1). Carole Gray and Julian Malins (2004). "Visualizing Research ", Ashgate.


3D models (research method) • applied research • ARIAD • art and designartists • audio reflection (research method) • British Library • Carole Gray • case studycreative practicedesign researchdesign research approachesdesign research projectdesign researcherdesign studieseducational researchestablished research methodsfine art • Fine Art methodology • focus groups • formal research • Higher Education institute • human enquiry • industrial designinterview (research method) • Julian Malins • maquette • non-formal frameworks • personal constructs (research method) • photography (research method) • practice (research method) • practice-based researchpractice-led research • professional publications • questionnairereflective journalresearchresearch design • research diary • research methodsresearch papersocial science • sweatbox (research method) • undergraduate researchuser feedbackvideo (research method)visual arts


Simon Perkins

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