"Our study was concerned with adapting existing research methods courses to accommodate practice-based research training rather than creating new programmes. Lest we are tempted to develop courses customised exclusively for practice-based research students it is worth noting that practice-based research does not present as a unified mode of studying for a PhD. There are differences between and within subject areas, different modes of study, and there are different outcomes. In the case of PhDs by Composition at the University of Edinburgh, the outcome to be examined is a portfolio of compositions suitable for presentation as a concert programme. No written component is required, other than musical notation and programme notes. ECA defines practice-based research as “the exploration of a subject of enquiry through practical work accompanied by a related text” (ECA Grad School Student Handbook 2005-2006). The usual model at ECA is for a series of artworks or designs in conjunction with a thesis text, which may take the form of documentation, rationale, justification, position-statement or critique.
As mentioned, the strong assertion for practice-based research is that it is no different than any other kind of research, or, at least, it is as different from the rest as they are from each other. Our trial research methods course included students of archaeology, architecture, landscape architecture, history of art, visual and cultural studies, sound design, history of music, furniture design, fine art, sculpture, drawing and painting, and architecture by design. In fact student feedback singled out archaeology and laboratory-based research into architectural structures as having the least support from the course. Practice-based students also found the course content less than satisfactory to their needs, but personal attention from the art-practice researcher/tutor seemed to ameliorate such deficits, and certain lectures would at least make mention of practice-based research, even if to indicate that it may be an exception to the case under discussion. The importance of this basic level of recognition applies equally to transferable skills training. Practitioners singled out time management, scheduling and planning as crucial in the context of exhibitions and performances, involving the management of a range of conflicting variables.
We conclude that acknowledgement of practice-based research, along with every other mode of research represented in the class, is the least that can be expected in a research methods course. The minimum provision is for intellectual space for practice-based students to give voice to the issues that affect them, and an invitation to discuss the relevance of the material presented in lectures. A further level of engagement involves exposure to personnel who have an investment in the mode of research under discussion, even if that mode of research is not incorporated into the curriculum.
But practice-based research students drew attention to the need for formal practitioner input as vital in delivering insights into ways of working, particularly from those who have already gained PhDs through this mode of study. Practitioner input is to be included within the portfolio of expertise that includes historians, archivists, musicologists, technical experts and information specialists.
Whereas it is desirable to inject yet more course content to accommodate the different groups in a student cohort, this recommendation raises the issue of how to do so in the context of a diverse student cohort. Students from all areas reported their appreciation of the chance to study with students from different backgrounds and in different disciplines. Disciplines can be sufficiently different, but with common threads. In the course under study these threads were highlighted in discussions and at the student conference that culminated the course. Learning through a recognition of difference was also emphasized in the course documentation and some of the lectures and exercises. Difference, provocation and appropriation are major stimuli to creative production and can be exploited in a research methods course that supports a diverse range of students. This is abetted by an ethos of openness and conviviality within the course, identifying possible linkages, and teaching staff being open in discussion contexts. A diversity of research methods delivery is a seam to be mined in the case of practice-based research. In this, the potential eclecticism of practice-based research can provide a model for other modes of research, expanding the idea of what a PhD is or can be.
None-the-less in our trial course the issue of relevance surfaced frequently. The plan had been to deliver course material of general relevance in a lecture format, open the session to discussion and then provide break-out groups organized along disciplinary lines. In practice, the break-out groups proved too informally constituted to fulfill this purpose, and by this stage in any session the lecturers’ and students’ appetites for further delivery was diminished. Students wanted to discuss, often across disciplinary lines and according to other than disciplinary configurations. The discussions were regarded as extremely valuable, but not in addressing specific disciplinary needs. There is a need for some classes at least that specifically address practice-based research issues.
We conclude that there is value in providing at least one lecture/session on the problematics of research from a practice-based perspective, and involving practitioners. This discussion can also be highly relevant to humanities students whose interest in research may be more eclectic that students in disciplines with a scientific or empirical orientation. Rather than remove practice-based research students from the cohort for special attention, the alternative is to identify students from science-based disciplines, or those working with strictly prescribed methodologies, for alternative instruction. Practice-based students reported their desire to participate in debate and discussion with interested students beyond their own fields.
In summary, practice-based research students benefit from working in a diverse context and do not necessarily require their own course. In fact practitioners reported that there are benefits in being exposed to a variety of different approaches which may shed new light on their research, and the opportunity to make interdisciplinary connections. Nor did students demand their own course, just the recognition of the issues that affected their candidature, the introduction of certain themes pertinent to their modes of research, and exposure to experienced practitioners."
(Richard Coyne and Jenny Triggs, 2007)
"Art and Design, History of Art, Architecture and Design, Drama, Dance and Performing Arts, Communication, Cultural and Media Studies, Music"
(University of Hertfordshire, School of Creative Arts)
"Unistats lets you search, review and compare official information about universities and colleges in the UK, and the subjects they offer. It includes results from the National Student Survey – where more than 220,000 students give their views about the quality of their higher education experience. ...
HEFCE (the Higher Education Funding Council for England)¹ owns the Unistats websites and has contracted UCAS to manage the delivery and maintenance of these websites on its behalf."
"Art & Research is an artist-led, internationally peer-assessed open access e-journal of Research in Fine Art Practice, focused upon questions, contexts and methodologies of artistic research and practice. Art & Research aims to serve professional artists and academics, curators and critics, artistic researchers, postgraduate and doctoral research students and undergraduates, and to inform current pedagogical thought in a global context."
Fig.1. Dutton + Swindells, Studio Production, Ssamzie Art Space Studios, Seoul, February 2008. Courtesy of the artists.
"A recent analysis of doctorates in design has identified four common characteristics of research approaches found in the exploration of practice-based design research questions . They are: 1) a 'bricolage' approach to research design, 2) reflective practices, 3) the use of visual approaches and 4) thesis-structural innovation. These characteristics have been derived from an examination of a range of design theses and using a number of design research frameworks [2-4] to identify the epistemological and methodological models applied. This paper has chosen to focus on one of the four characteristics, the bricolage approach to method construction, as it is seen to be a common feature evident in all six studies. The bricolage method consists of combining methods from the social sciences, humanities, and hard sciences to derive a suitable model of inquiry.
While we acknowledge that design research investigates different issues that require studies into a range of subject areas such as the material, historical, scientific, social and psychological, the focus of this paper is the exploration of research questions derived from practice-based questions. In other words, it focuses on design activities that are used to generate new knowledge and understanding in and of itself.
We posit that the adoption of methodological bricolage is a necessity in design research due to the indeterminate nature of design. ...
Although Levi-Strauss introduced the concept of bricolage as a mode of acquiring knowledge, it was Denzin and Lincoln's  articulation of it within a methodological context that offered insight into new forms of rigour and complexity in social research. Nelson, Treichler and Grossberg describe bricolage (in the context of cultural studies methodology) as reflecting a choice of practice that is pragmatic, strategic and self-reflexive . While Kincheloe  uses the term to describe multi-perspectival research methods, not just as the usage of mixed methods but to acknowledge that using methods from different disciplines enables the researcher to compare and contrast multiple points of view. Just as designed objects have prescribed affordances, methods automatically imply ontological and epistemological affordances. This relationship between inquiry and method affords design a useful indeterminacy, where not-knowing becomes a constructive loop that the bricoleur appears to be exploiting. As questions arise so methods to answer them are sought, abstracting platforms for design knowledge rather than concrete answers. Bricolage is a useful and necessary concept for design researchers as it allows them to deploy available and established strategies and methods, but also grants them the license to create new tools and techniques in order to address questions that are beyond the realm of the established discipline. Methodological bricolage permits the researcher to look at the problem we have with problems, as well as their solution. The bricoleur views research methods actively, rather than passively, meaning that the researcher actively constructs methods with tools at hand rather than accepting and using pre-existing methodologies ."
(Joyce S R Yee and Craig Bremner, 2011)
Fig.1 Danae Colomer, Gazpacho video portion of Food as Opera project.
2). Yee, J. S. R. and C. Bremner (2011). Methodological Bricolage - What does it tell us about Design? Doctoral Education in Design Conference. Hong Kong, Hong Kong Polytechnic University.