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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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4. Arts-Based Research as Synthetic Research Practice


C H A P T E R F O U R Arts-Based Research as Synthetic Research Practice Postmodern Precedents for a Synthetic Arts-Based Inquiry Architecture The start of the postmodern era has also worked to move the ongoing debate about research methods “beyond considerations of a single research meth - od ology or paradigm” toward the possibility of undertaking inquiry as a “multiple-paradigm en- deavor” (Skrtic, 1990, p. 135). Scholars in educa- tional and social research have entered a phase of “dialogical discourse—an antifoundational, reflec- tive discourse about, and appreciation of, the vari- ety of available research logics and paradigmatic perspectives” (Skrtic, 1990, p. 135). This has enabled a synthetic inquiry architecture that is premised upon “the reconceptualization of the nature of knowledge itself” (Skrtic, 1990, p. 134). At the heart of this reconceptualization is the postmodern observer, able to surround the data by shifting from knowledge foundation to knowledge Synthetic Arts-Based Curriculum-making Strategy A curriculum-making strategy for the arts and design in education that involves thinking in a language, wherein the reinterpretation of discourse and narratives within communities of practice becomes the site of research or student learning. Rolling Fin_Rolling fin 4/4/13 12:31 PM Page 87 foundation—resituating his or her perspective as a knower from one research paradigm to another. One cannot understate the breakthrough involved in reconceptualizing inquiry “as a form of interac- tion between an object of study and an observer” rather than from the traditional static scientific stance “that there is a...

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