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Arts-Based Research Primer


James Rolling Haywood, Jr.

The Arts-Based Research Primer explores the arts-based research paradigm and its potential to intersect with and augment traditional social science and educational research methods. The arts-based research (ABR) paradigm may be broadly understood as a flexible architecture of practice-based theory-building methodologies. This text aims to reveal how arts-based ways of knowing and doing lend themselves to blended spaces of naturalistic inquiry, and is intended to aid artists and scientists alike in their research and professional practices.
This text also highlights the utility of arts-based research concepts toward building innovative curriculum-making strategies for educational practice both within and beyond the classroom setting. Accessible examples of analytic, synthetic, critical-activist, and improvisational arts-based research methodologies and their outcomes were solicited from a wide range of researchers in varying disciplines, including senior faculty and emerging graduate level scholars. Chapters include a paradigm analysis of the characteristics of arts-based research; brief historical overviews along with a review of recent ABR literature; charts, diagrams and photographs representing ABR approaches for addressing diverse kinds of questions; suggestions for using an ABR inquiry model when writing a research paper; and detailed glossaries of key concepts and terms.


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2. A Flexible Theory-Building Architecture for Arts-Based Research


C H A P T E R T W O A Flexible Theory-Building Architecture for Arts- Based Research The Curious Case of Objectivity in Science-Based Research Few are fully aware that just as there is no single defi- nition of art, there is also no one scientific method. The idea of “the scientific method” is part of a pow- erful narrative mythology about the preeminent place of logical positivism and the Western mind in the pantheon of knowledge-making—when the truth of the matter is that scientific practice is actu- ally a wide body of methodological approaches de- veloped over centuries, with many contributors from across the globe. While the sciences seek to assign temporary cer- tainties, the arts augur deeply into our enduring am- biguities, probing the unknown and aligning with patterns initially unseen. Consider for a moment the contrast between having a general understanding of the probable geological constitution of an undersea The Scientific Method Part of a powerful narrative mythology about the preeminent place of logical positivism and the Western mind in the pantheon of knowledge-making. Rolling Fin_Rolling fin 4/4/13 12:31 PM Page 39 rock lodged in a sandy shoal—and the realization that the rock you have been looking at is actually a cephalopod that has altered the color and texture of its skin to camouflage itself and appear as a meaning- ful part of its surroundings. Arts-based research methodologies—with their ability to perceive, de- code, and reinterpret the disparate patterns of experi-...

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