My husband passed on a recommendation from Dr Julia Peck from the University of Gloucestershire of the second edition of a book entitled Creative Research Methods:  A Practical Guide by Helen Kara.  The Foreword written by Kenneth and Mary Gergen argue that this is an important book with “resounding implications” for the social sciences.  They see the book as a challenge to the prevailing view of research in social sciences, using carefully controlled and systematic observation, as providing the only path to knowledge.  In this book, Kara invites researchers to create their own practices.

“Rather than offering endless lists and rationales for what a particular method – qualitative or quantitative, should and should not do, she invites the researcher to deliberate, to imagine and create.  The major question is what the researcher wishes to accomplish:  what is worth doing, who is helped or hurt by the research and what ethical and political issues are relevant.  (Gergen and Gergen in Kara 2020: xvi).

Whilst this might seem a risky business, Kara is at pains to assure the reader that she is not suggesting that the more creative the research method the better the outcome will be. Rather that, alongside a comprehensive understanding of traditional research principles, methods and methodologies, there is room to be creative where time-honoured ways do not satisfactorily deliver answers to the research questions of the researcher.  She suggests that rather than thinking about doing research we should think about making research.  She encourages a multi-faceted approach to research using a number of tools and approaches to address research questions.

At the very early stages of my research, I need to read widely and consider the more traditional handbooks widely available, alongside challenging texts such as this.  Needless to say, I will be guided by my supervisors, but I will be writing more blogs about this book in the coming weeks.



KARA, Helen.  2020.  Creative Research Methods:  A Practical Guide.  Bristol: Bristol University Press.

Alison Price

Alison Price

My name is Alison Price and for the past ten years I have travelled the world photographing wildlife, including Alaska, Antarctica, Borneo, Botswana, the Canadian Arctic, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
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