Methodologies for Creative Practitioner Researchers

If you need help with designing your research project methodology or choosing the right research method or tools then you will definitely want to spend a little time exploring this collection of scholarly resources. Curated especially for creative practitioners and practice-led researchers working in media, fine arts and the humanities, here you will find a variety of excellent scholarly resources, from full-text ebooks to open access journals, individual projects, databases, research guides, learning tools and more.

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How to Write Research Methodology: Overview, Tips, and Techniques |

Methodology in research is defined as the systematic method to resolve a research problem through data gathering using various techniques, providing an interpretation of data gathered and drawing conclusions about the research data. Essentially, a research methodology is the blueprint of a research or study. This website will guide you through the necessary steps in crafting a research methodology for your own project.

Writing your dissertation methodology | Oxbridge Essays

Your dissertation methodology provides a detailed account of both how you'll approach your dissertation and why you've decided to approach it in this way.

Centre for Practice Based Research in the Arts

The Centre provides an exploratory space where arts practitioners from across our Faculty of Arts and Humanities can develop and promote their work.

An Evolving Map of Design Practice and Design Research

Design research is in a state of flux. The design research landscape has been the focus of a tremendous amount of exploration and growth over the past five to 10 years. It is currently a jumble of approaches that, while competing as well as complementary, nonetheless share a common goal: to drive, inspire, and inform the design development process.

Methods for the Analysis of Media Content

On these pages, we offer you both original research and links to resources for the analyses of media content. Our resources cover the entire research process, covering the collection of data, its preparation of data for analysis, the selection of the analytical approach and its corresponding methodological tools.

Thematic analysis

Thematic analysis is a method for qualitative data analysis. We provide a wide range of resources related to learning and using thematic analysis.

Online qualitative data analysis

Online QDA is a set of learning materials which address common issues of undertaking qualitative data analysis (QDA) and beginning to use Computer Assisted Qualitative Data AnalysiS (CAQDAS) packages. We aim to complement courses run by, for example, the CAQDAS Networking project, many independent trainers and the large number of undergraduate and postgraduate social sciences research methods training courses.

A Comprehensive Guide To User Experience (UX) Research | Adobe Blog

The importance of UX research to what the UX research landscape looks like.

How to choose a method

Because you do things in a sensible order, you have your research question, right? Good. It’s very important to have that first. The method (or methods) you choose should be the one (or ones) most likely to help you answer your question. You can’t figure out which methods are most likely to help if you don’t yet know what your question is. So if you’re actually not sure of your question, stop reading this RIGHT NOW and go settle your question, then come back and carry on reading.

International Journal of Qualitative Methods

The International Journal of Qualitative Methods is the peer-reviewed interdisciplinary open access journal of the International Institute for Qualitative Methodology (IIQM) at the University of Alberta, Canada.

The journal was established in 2002 as an eclectic and international forum for papers reporting original methodological insights, study design innovations, and funded-project proposals using qualitative or mixed methods research that are useful to the global research community.

Complete Beginner's Guide to UX Research

UX research - or as it’s sometimes called, design research - informs our work, improves our understanding, and validates our decisions in the design process. In this Complete Beginner's Guide, readers will get a head start on how to use design research techniques in their work, and improve experiences for all users.

The filmmakers’ research perspectives: an overview of Australian and UK filmmaking research

Filmmaking research is part of the broader practice research paradigm – known as practice-led, practice-based and creative practice research – where films are created as research outputs in fiction, documentary and hybrid forms. Filmmaking researchers’ enquiries into production practices, techniques, modes and genres used in cinema, television and online have been successfully conducted using filmmaking as a primary research method. This paper sets out to explore the approaches used in filmmaking research that have been adopted in Australia and the UK, to identify the similarities and differences between the two research environments by looking at nine sample research projects.

The sample projects illustrate the diversity of films as research outputs, where some are made as a means of exploring theoretical perspectives, like “The Brisbane Line” (Maher 2011) and “Love in the Post” (Callaghan 2014). Others were created as part of larger interdisciplinary research projects, for example “Using Fort Scratchley” (Kerrigan 2008a) saw communication and history academics work together. With the series “Reducing Bullying: Evidence Based Strategies for Schools” (Wotherspoon 2006), social scientists and film production academics created a series of films used to initiate classroom discussions around acceptable social behaviours. The common element in the sample projects is that filmmaking was used as a research method, even though each project used a different methodology.

By presenting the historical approaches to filmmaking from a qualitative paradigm and illustrating a variety of contemporary research outputs generated through the creative practice paradigms, this paper discusses the unique research insights that can be gained from the position of a filmmaking-researcher. Discussing these perspectives helps build discipline knowledge about filmmaking practice as research and includes approaches that strengthen the insider’s perspective that a filmmaking-researcher can take.

Filmmaking as Creative Practice: Assessing Creative Magnitude and Scale

Filmmaking as a creative practice is usually researched through film and cinema studies and screen production. Sometimes these two areas are conflated because screen production can be seen as a marginal subset of the larger body of cinema and film studies scholarly knowledge. By focusing on understandings of creativity, the foundations that have led to this scholarly relationship come into question and through an examination of theoretical and conceptual positioning of the filmmaker and the spectator this paper will offer a number of plausible reasons for this conflation. When scrutinized in this way a blind spot that has obstructed approaches to filmmaking creativity is revealed. By explaining creativity as a phenomenon that entails both film as product and film as a viewed experience, this paper will theoretically examine filmmaking as a creative practice by drawing on the seven levels of filmic reality known as the filmology, a term created by Etienne Souriau in the 1950s. Through this conceptual study, creative magnitude and scale will be used to illustrate the intimate and delicate relationship between spectatorship and filmmaking. Endorsing a systems view of creative filmmaking practice will reveal the blind spot and by clarifying the creative relationship between the filmmaker and the spectator the obscured view can be better appreciated.

Design Research Techniques

This online repository is a necessarily unfinished and evolving resource for Participatory Design Techniques. These techniques help evolve a project lifecycle through participation of multiple stakeholders including potential users or audiences, partners or internal teams.

Design Research Methods

This page represents a growing list of application toolkits and other great resources for conducting design research, organized into General, Specific, and Thematic Tools.

The View From The Studio: Design Ethnography and Organizational Cultures

This ethnographic study of designing explores the relationship between the organizational surroundings of the design studio and the way in which design ethnography activities are accomplished, with a focus on the ways in which design practitioners are actively negotiating and redefining the perspectives they use to conduct research work. It proposes the twined cultures of reflexivity and conjecture as frameworks for understanding what it is that makes design ethnography so different, and for reconciling the integration of the ethnographic toolkit within the limitations of daily design practice. Based on findings from a para-ethnographic study of designers at work on an augmented reality project in a large studio, this paper explores the effects of framing design ethnography as research that looks both inward, and at the future – perspectives which serve to contradict traditional expectations of the vantage points offered by this methodological toolkit.

7 Simple Ways to Get More From Ethnographic Research | Interaction Design Foundation

The first step in any UX process is to get to know the users. When you’re starting a project from scratch or moving into a new market, you may not have any experience with your users. Ethnographic res...

Make, Mistake, Journey: Practice-led research and ways of learning

Welcome to a special issue of Networking Knowledge, focused on the role of practice in research across a broad range of disciplines. Practice-orientated methodologies (for example practice-led research, practice-based research, etc.) have become pertinent in recent years, alongside discussions about the nature of academic knowledge and perceived distinctions between theory and practice. Similarly, an increasing focus on the relationship between mind, body, and world has led to questions about the role of the researcher, and challenges to academia’s requirement for objectivity and ‘truth’.Studies increasingly acknowledge or embrace the presence of the researcher, or use the body itself as the means of doing research. In these studies, knowledge is both produced and received through the body, in a reflexive and iterative process.But while practice-led methodologies have promoted new ways of knowing through doing, they have also highlighted a number of epistemological questions:• How can theory and practice be integrated and used together holistically?• How can the merit of practice-led methods be judged within a quantitative academic framework?• How can practice-led research processes and outputs be understood as equivalent to –rather than supplementary to –the written word?• What are the limits of practice-led research?

Autoethnography: An Overview

Autoethnography is an approach to research and writing that seeks to describe and systematically analyze personal experience in order to understand cultural experience. This approach challenges canonical ways of doing research and representing others and treats research as a political, socially-just and socially-conscious act. A researcher uses tenets of autobiography and ethnography to do and write autoethnography. Thus, as a method, autoethnography is both process and product.

Ellis, Carolyn; Adams, Tony E. & Bochner, Arthur P. (2010). Autoethnography: An Overview [40 paragraphs]. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 12(1), Art. 10,

Hands-on Intellect: Integrating Craft Practice into Design Research

Over the last two decades, craft practice has played a considerable role in practice-led design research, especially as the subject and the vehicle for theoretical inquiry. This article aims to reveal how craft as a way of thinking through material can be incorporated into practice-led design research. The author’s completed dissertation exploring the expressivity of materials in textiles is used to demonstrate how craft can drive a practice-led research process and how research can enhance craft practice. The dissertation exemplifies how the author employed her own craft practice as the main method for design research. The method was utilized in relation to Merleau-Ponty’s and Heidegger’s phenomenology and the method of questioning viewers during two exhibitions featuring artifacts resulting from the author’s craft practice. Positioning craft practice in a research context can facilitate the reflection and articulation of knowledge generated from within the researcher-practitioner’s artistic experience, so that the knowledge becomes explicit as a written text or as a means of visual representation. Research can not only transform ways of designing or making artifacts, but also theoretically inform practice so that the practice can develop the practitioner’s aesthetic intelligence, the results of which are craft objects that can be understood more easily by viewers.

The research paradigm – methodology, epistemology and ontology – explained in simple language

This post explains what a research paradigm is, which includes ontology, epistemology, theoretical framework and methodology, and why it is important for your research. It also explains the relationship between terms.

How to Use a Mind Map to Prepare Your Research Proposal

Plan out and finish your research proposal in no time using a mind map. Learn how to prepare it by following the steps described in this article. The examples generated by a mind mapping tool define each step.


The phenomenological method aims to describe, understand and interpret the meanings of experiences of human life. It focuses on research questions such as what it is like to experience a particular situation. Susan Kozel, professor of new media at Malmö University, provides an excellent introduction to the topic in this lecture, which forms part of the course material for the Practice-Based Research in the Arts course offered by Stanford University in the USA.

What is an artistic research question?

Formulating a relevant research question is the most fundamental aspect of all artistic research. Excellent research is often distinguished from the mediocre in how the research question is put. From a negative point of view, the researcher must not use artistic liberty as an excuse to disregard her obligations as a researcher. From a positive view, a well formulated research question helps us gain new knowledge, it outlines the method, and it makes the artistic practice even more relevant than mere artistic interpretation. The presentation sets out to define the structure of artistic research questions and then discuss the exemplary research questions put through Sigurd Slåttebrekk’s and Tony Harrison’s reconstruction of Grieg’s piano playing. Finally, it will discuss how the musicologist can grasp artistic research.

A win-win situation for design theory and practice | Mapping Complex Information. Theory and Practice

Much has been written and discussed about the gap between design practice (industry) and theory (academia), and how to bridge that gap has become a major current preoccupation. Although professional and research designers appear to be narrowing that gap by increasingly working on collaborative projects, little has been actually done to marry those communities.

SAGE Research Methods: Find resources to answer your research methods and statistics questions.

Search and browse books, dictionaries, encyclopedia, video, journal articles, cases and datasets on research methods to help you learn and conduct projects.

Methods Map

Check out this fun tool created by a the people at the PhD Blog.

For no apparent reason, research philosophy tends to send dissertation students into a mild panic. The befuddlement caused by a range of new terminology relating to the philosophy of knowledge is unnecessary when all that you are trying to achieve is some clarity over the status of any knowledge claims you make in your study. The Methods Map offers a guide to the standard philosophical positions required to specify the particular form of research you plan to undertake. Collectively, these positions will define what we refer to as a research paradigm.

Mapping Research Methods (PDF Download Available). Available from: [accessed Oct 13 2017].

Practice-led Research Research-led Practice in the Creative Arts (Full Text)

This book addresses an issue of vital importance to contemporary practitioners in the creative arts: the role and significance of creative work within the university environment and its relationship to research practices. The turn to creative practice is one of the most exciting and revolutionary developments to occur in the university within the last two decades and is currently accelerating in influence. It is bringing with it dynamic new ways of thinking about research and new methodologies for conducting it, a raised awareness of the different kinds of knowledge that creative practice can convey and an illuminating body of information about the creative process. As higher education become more accepting of creative work and its existing and potential relationships to research, we also see changes in the formation of university departments, in the way conferences are conducted, and in styles of academic writing and modes of evaluation.

Narrative writing: reflective enquiry into professional practice

An effective mode of reflective practice and reflexivity is through personal professional narrative and story exploration. All professional and personal experience is naturally storied; telling or writing stories are prime human ways of understanding, communicating and remembering. Narratives of vital or key areas of professional experience can be communicated and explored directly and simply through expressive writing. These might be expressed fictionally; each story stands metonymically for that clinician’s practice. Uncritically accepted metaphors, with deep impact upon practice and experience, can also be noticed and evaluated. This article offers a richly exemplified argument for how confidential, carefully facilitated groups of professionals can be supported critically, yet gently examining their own and others’ practice, through written narrative and poetry. Implicit ethics and values can be perceived and enquired into, and professional identity and boundaries unthreateningly questioned and even challenged. Practitioners can gain greater observational powers and sense of authority over their work, and more of a grasp of its inherently complex political, social and cultural impact.

NRMC UK Resource Collection

NCRM has many online resources that are intended to help people interested in social science research methods. Here is a selection of the current NCRM resources.

Creative Research Methods

An AHRC-funded skills development project organised by researchers at Birmingham Institute of Art & Design (Birmingham City University) and Communication and Media Research Institute (University of Westminster).

Art Practice As Research

This is the website for an MA programme in art and media practice at the University of Westminster. It contains dozens of excellent resources on artistic practice as research and provides question prompts and related content links for all resources listed.

Creative Practice as Research

Practice-related research, or action research, is a tried and tested methodology in medicine, design, and engineering. While it has always been present to some extent in the arts and humanities, in recent years artistic practice has developed into a major focus of research activity, both as process and product, and several recent texts as well as discourse in various disciplines have made a strong case for its validity as a method of studying art and the practice of art. As creative practice expands as a field of academic research, there is a need to establish an ongoing discourse on and resource for appropriate practice-based methodologies.

Art, literary, music, and film analysts examine, dissect, and even deconstruct the art that we create in order to seek the roots of culture and humanity, pulling the techniques and references and motivations apart to develop knowledge of how works of art relate to the culture and society in which they are produced, as well as to the development of particular art forms over time. Practice-related researchers push this examination into a more direct and intimate sphere, observing and analysing themselves as they engage in the act of creation, rather than relying solely on dissection of the art after the fact. And just as science has exposed and increased our wonder about our world, direct study of the self as an artist at work and the practice of art in cultural and social contexts can bring us closer to our selves and our communities.

Action Research and Reflective Practice (Full Text)

In Action Research and Reflective Practice, Paul McIntosh argues that
reflective practice and action research can become mechanistic in their
use unless fresh creative approaches are employed. Exploring the tension
between the use of evidence-based practice, based upon solid ‘objective’
research, and reflection, with its ‘subjectivity’ and personal perception, this
book argues that reflection is research. McIntosh increases the prevalence
and effectiveness of both action research and reflection through the
application of new creative and visual approaches.

Action Research and Reflective Practice demonstrates that creative
approaches can be utilised effectively in critically reflexive ways, creating
a new style of action research that is both innovative and theoretically
robust. The resulting approach will improve evidence-based research in
education, health care and other social sciences to enhance perception
and understanding of events, identity and self. This book will be highly
beneficial to undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as educational and social researchers, across a broad range of subjects within
the social sciences.

Text journal special issue: Creative and practice-led research: current status, future plans

TEXT Special Issue No 8 October 2010.
There are many burning issues facing the higher education sector in relation to creative and practice-led research. Dennis Strand’s influential report, Research in the Creative Arts (1998), identified the conditions as they then were, and made a number of proposals and projections for the future. At the time that the Strand report was published, few staff in the creative arts held postgraduate degrees, and only 3.9% of research higher degrees students in Australia were working in the creative arts (Strand 1998, xiv); many of those would have been conducting conventional humanities or social science projects. This has changed radically, with increasing numbers of staff holding doctoral level degrees, and with greatly increased demand for research higher degree places in creative practice. This rich environment brings with it commensurate pressures: to develop the appropriate language for this research paradigm; to provide supervisors with skills in the specifics of working with creative practitioners as researchers; to build a national community of researchers at both student and supervisor level; and to provide the best possible environment in which students can generate knowledge relevant to the field and to add social capital.

Diagrammatic Thinking: A practice-led research zine

This zine was co-produced by attendees at the University of Leeds Practice-Led PhD symposium hosted by School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies and the School of Design. This symposium posed the question “are there alternatives to ‘talking’ about research?” This question invited experimental modes of presentation and creative modes of exchange and dissemination in a bid to move away from more traditional academic formats.


Methods@Manchester is an initiative funded by the Faculty of Humanities, University of Manchester. This resource showcases a broad range of methodologies and provides detailed explanation and resources for further research on each.

Learning Qualitative Data Analysis

Online QDA is a set of learning materials which address common issues of undertaking qualitative data analysis (QDA). Materials consist of text pages outlining issues and aspects of analysis and the approaches and theories found in qualitative research along with tutorials with audio and video materials. The Intro section explains how the information and tutorials are arranged and makes some suggestions about how to use this site.

Research Methodologies for the Creative Arts and Humanities

Welcome to our exploratory Guide to research methodology resources. It is aimed at post-graduate researchers in the creative arts and humanities and highlights current online full text resources. The methodologies used in the sciences, the social sciences and education are not emphasised here, since they are already well covered elsewhere. They might, though, be applicable for some aspects of your research.

Gray and Malins (1993) have observed: "There is no one universally accepted methodological approach to research within the arts. Methodologies associated with creative practice as research may move beyond traditional approaches to research, inclusive of the ongoing reflexive nature associated with the discipline/s. Through the methodologies and because of multiple shifts of interpretive paradigms in the creative arts, there could be a difference, creating tensionings, between the creative and reflective outcomes within the practice. Practice as research is identified as a 'generating' instrument. Research methods and processes are tailored to respond to practice and practice to research, continually re-orienting it to refine the research question through reflexive processes." (see Research procedures/methodologies for artists and designers )

The decision as to which methodology to adopt should not normally delay a research effort, especially writing activity, as the writing process focusses our reflections and helps crystallise what methods are intrinsically best for our own research journey. Often a key work by another which serves as a departure point for ones own research, will bring with it a research method for modelling, re-modelling or major adaptive change. Many research methodologies are of this organic type and cannot be easily categorised in a Guide such as this, though of course the researcher/writer employing them is bound to explicate them in the body of their work. Discussion with your supervisor is the best way to decide on your research methodology.

Action Research Resources

Action research is a flexible spiral process which allows action (change, improvement) and research (understanding, knowledge) to be achieved at the same time. The understanding allows more informed change and at the same time is informed by that change. People affected by the change are usually involved in the action research. This allows the understanding to be widely shared and the change to be pursued with commitment.

The Practice of Research

A Methodology for Practice-Based Research in the Creative Arts

Ethnography Matters - Methods

Ethnography Matters is a space to talk about the blurring boundaries of our craft, where we can gain insight, advice and inspiration from those who are defining what high quality, accessible and innovative research might look like in a future that is increasingly mediated by technology.

What is grounded theory?

A great introduction to the topic and resource on various aspects of doing grounded theory.

Qualitative Methods Podcasts

Here is a series of ten podcasts introducing how to undertake Qualitative Methods. This series was supported by the Higher Education Academy.

National Centre for Research Methods (UK) - Podcast series and text resources

In 2004 the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) set up the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM) at the University of Southampton. NCRM was tasked to increase the quality and range of methodological approaches used by UK social scientists through a programme of training and capacity building, and with driving forward methodological development and innovation through its own research programme.

Give Methods a Chance - Podcast Series

The Society Pages (TSP) is an open-access social science project headquartered in the Department of Sociology at the University of Minnesota and Give Methods a Chance, a podcast devoted to research methods in practice. Listen to top scholars introduce a multitude of approaches to answer important questions and share stories about their experiences studying the social world. Designed for students, scholars, and society.

The Journal for Artistic Research (JAR)

The Journal for Artistic Research (JAR) is an inter-national, online, Open Access and peer-reviewed journal for the identification, publication and dissemination of artistic research and its methodologies, from all arts disciplines. With the aim of displaying practice in a manner that respects artists' modes of presentation, JAR abandons the traditional journal article format and offers its contributors a dynamic online canvas where text can be woven together with image, audio and video. These research documents called ‘expositions’ provide a unique reading experience while fulfilling the expectations of scholarly dissemination.

Academic research and artistic practice in Chain Reaction: Methodology on Two Levels

This article describes the ways in which an academic method of research was combined with an artistic method in the production of Chain Reaction, a creative project developed by the author as part of her PhD program, using the methodology of practice-based research. The article describes the research design, and displays the negotiation between two different questions throughout the project—artistic and academic—by analysing two significant moments: devising artistic work with collaborators and working with theory. It is then argued that the cooperation between artistic practice and academic research enriches each field while simultaneously creating a strong form of cultural practice with both aesthetic and epistemological elements.

Creative Research: The Theory and Practice of Research for the Creative Industries

Available via SAE library.

This book is designed to lead you through the key knowledge, practices and skills of research methods in the study of design management and focuses on defining the research problem, deciding on a research process and undertaking a research project as a student at undergraduate or postgraduate level or as a practitioner within the creative fields. The book begins with an overview of the field of research within the context of the creative industries, and then goes into detail on the stages involved in undertaking a research project within this field. You will be introduced to a range of philosophical assumptions upon which your research can be based and the implications of these assumptions on the method or methods that you choose. In addition to this, techniques and procedures for collecting and analyzing different types of data are examined and analyzed in detail.   Each topic is accompanied by a main text with visuals outlining the key issues and debates. The topics are accompanied by key word definitions and explanations, plus references to key texts for further reading. Questions are also identified to get the reader thinking about the issues raised, to confront expectations and to make informed choices. Interviews with leading practitioners and academics give insight on current debates on research practice. The skills necessary to promote the effectiveness and validity of research within the creative industries are highlighted in case studies, all of which also demonstrate what a well-designed research project can achieve.