For a couple of reasons, the examination, evaluation, and choice of research methods has returned to my thinking.  A colleague recently awarded his PhD asked if we could have a chat about a book I had read in my first year by Helen Kara, Creative Research Methods:  A Practical Guide (2020) and the following day we had a seminar in our weekly research students’ meet up where we discussed what research methods might look like in a practice-based or practice-led PhD.

When I produced my Upgrade document, I was reasonably happy that I had nailed the ontology (underlying view of reality), the epistemology (how I gain knowledge) through the BAR Diagram, my research methodology (the framework for my methods) and strategies through the Star Diagram, the methods of the Onion Diagram and the Emotigram and through the ongoing production of my images and Critical Research Journal or blog and my field journal.

In our weekly research meet up, our leader spoke about the following areas.  I have formatted them as notes as an aide memoire for myself:

  1. knowledge through creative engagement with creative actions such as photography, walking and writing leading to insights.
  2. doing research is a structured investigation using questions, testing data, analysis as you go and impact – who benefits from the knowledge?
  3. How does making become a contribution to new knowledge?
  4. Autoethnography – value placed on case study of one – for me this may be deep practice, deep attention – seeing and listening
  5. Methods of analysis can be a literature search, visual search, artistic search.  Why?  Because it starts a process of reflection.  Can take many forms including aesthetic, historic, social, philosophical etc
  6. Close reading or in my case close viewing is a method – the Emotigram
  7. Use research questions as guiding principles

And in conversation with a fellow student we spoke of the following from Helen Kara’s book (2020):

  1. Multi-modal research is ok
  2. Thinking about making research rather than doing research
  3. Multi-faceted – number of tools and approaches but creative research is not an excuse to abandon normal methodologies and methods
  4. Creativity can be a new idea or seeing a new pattern.  There are four levels of creativity: fluid; crystalised; mature and eminent.
  5. Made a note of ‘creative methods in private’ (2020 p21) and Markham’s Remix method (2020 p35).

For me, it was a useful reminder to always keep research methodologies and methods firmly in mind and ensure that research and practice is rigorous and disciplined in its approach.



Kara, H. (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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