"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 – www.ariad.co.uk; British Library’s Index to Theses – www.theses.com, 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 www.sosig.ac.uk (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 – www.elsevier.nl/locate/destud (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.