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Types of research in the creative arts and design

"scholarly research – creates and sustains the intellectual infrastructure within which pure, developmental and applied research can be conducted. it aims to map the fields in which issues, problems, or questions are located (what is known or understood in the general area of the proposed research already, and how addressing or answering the issues, problems or questions specified will enhance the generally–available knowledge, and, understanding of the area in question). it documents/compiles the knowledge, resources, methods, tools and models evolved through pure, developmental and applied research along with the subsequent results. pure research – asks fundamental questions in the field and explores hypotheses experimentally. it searches for pure knowledge that may uncover issues, theories, laws or metaphors that may help explain why things operate as they do, why they are as they are, or, why they appear to look the ways they do. it generates significant new facts, general theories or reflective models where immediate practical application or long–term economic, social or cultural benefits are not a direct objective. the results may be unexpected and yield original theories, discoveries or models that are unrelated to the disciplines in which the research has been conducted – they may be applied in another research context. developmental research – serves two purposes (a) it identifies the limitations of existing knowledge as evolved through pure research by creating alternative models, experiences and/or thought–systems so to generate useful metaphors for organising insight and expanding/reframing the base of existing knowledge (b) it harnesses, tests and reworks existing knowledge so to evolve special methods, tools and resources in preparation for the solving of specific problems, in specific contexts, through applied research. applied research – involves a process of systematic investigation within a specific context in order to solve an identified problem in that context. it aims to create new or improved systems (of thought or production), artefacts, products, processes, materials, devices, or services for long–term economic, social and/or cultural benefit. it is informed by the intellectual infrastructure of scholarly research in the field; it applies and/or transfers enhanced knowledge, methods, tools and resources from pure and developmental research; it also contributes to scholarship in the field through systematic dissemination of the results. the outcomes cannot usually be directly applied to other contexts because of the specificity of the situation in which the research has been applied although the methods/tools evolved are often transferable."
(Bruce Brown, Paul Gough, Jim Roddis, March 2004)

1). Brown, B., Gough, P. and Roddis, J. (2004) Types of Research in the Creative Arts and Design [online]. Bristol, UK: E–Papers, University of Brighton.


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