The process used to collect information and data for the purpose of making decisions. The methodology may include publication research, interviews, surveys and other research techniques, and could include both present and historical information:

Methods might include:

  • Practice-based/practice-led/practice-as
  • Qualitative
  • Action Research
  • Case Studies
  • Constructivist Grounded Theory
  • Grounded Theory
  • Content Analysis
  • Critical Discourse Analysis
  • Ethnographic Research
  • Focus Groups
  • Historical Research
  • Life Histories/Autobiographies
  • Longitudinal Analysis
  • Media Analysis
  • Mixed methodology
  • Narrative Inquiry
  • Participant observation
  • Quasi-experimental
  • Survey Research
  • Usability Studies

In the field of research, the research “method” entails different interventions, strategies, and plans that will be put to use by the researcher to do his or her job. It is like an action plan full of short- and long-term goals. It is also a set of actions—an action plan.

Research methodology deals with a range of ways to make the most out of solving key research problems. It is a composite of philosophies, ideals, and foundations that drive the actions, the methods, that will be used.

Think of the method as the “instrument,” or “tool” that will be used to accomplish the goals of the research. Think of the methodology as the systematic way in which those tools will be employed. There is no use having a tool without having a process to use it most effectively. This is the same basic gist with method (the tool) and methodology (the process, the guiding force).

Think also of the method as a series of techniques, while the methodology is the strategy that determines the use of the techniques. The methods enable the methodology, and the methodology helps decide the best methods.

To clarify further, consider this: A questionnaire is a method of data collection; it is a tool. Qualitative research methodology is the systematic processes and ways to obtain data with a variety of qualitative research tools. Hence, a questionnaire is one of the tools, or methods, that is employed as part of a qualitative researcher’s methodology.

AHRC:  the methodology should suggest a self-conscious, systematic and reflective practitioner.

Methodologies for Practice, Practice-based, and Practice-led research:

Known by a variety of terms, practice-led research is a conceptual framework that allows a researcher to incorporate their creative practice, creative methods and creative output into the research design and as a part of the research output.

Smith and Dean note that practice-led research arises out of two related ideas. Firstly, “that creative work in itself is a form of research and generates detectable research outputs” (2009, p5). The product of creative work itself contributes to the outcomes of a research process and contributes to the answer of a research question. Secondly, “creative practice — the training and specialised knowledge that creative practitioners have and the processes they engage in when they are making art — can lead to specialised research insights which can then be generalised and written up as research” (2009, p5). Smith and Dean’s point here is that the content and processes of a creative practice generate knowledge and innovations that are different to, but complementary with, other research styles and methods. Practice-led research projects are undertaken across all creative disciplines and, as a result, the approach is very flexible in its implementation able to incorporate a variety of methodologies and methods within its bounds.

A helpful way to understand this is to think of practice-led research as an approach that allows you to incorporate your creative practices into the research, legitimises the knowledge they reveal and endorses the methodologies, methods and research tools that are characteristic of your discipline.

Practice led or practice based?

There are two types of practice related research: practice-based and practice-led:

  1. If a creative artefact is the basis of the contribution to knowledge, the research is practice-based.
  2. If the research leads primarily to new understandings about practice, it is practice-led. Practice-based Research is an original investigation undertaken in order to gain new knowledge partly by means of practice and the outcomes of that practice. In a doctoral thesis, claims of originality and contribution to knowledge may be demonstrated through creative outcomes in the form of designs, music, digital media, performances and exhibitions. Whilst the significance and context of the claims are described in words, a full understanding can only be obtained with direct reference to the outcomes. Practice-led Research is concerned with the nature of practice and leads to new knowledge that has operational significance for that practice. In a doctoral thesis, the results of practice-led research may be fully described in text form without the inclusion of a creative work. The primary focus of the research is to advance knowledge about practice, or to advance knowledge within practice. Such research includes practice as an integral part of its method and often falls within the general area of action research.


Further references

Creativity & Cognition Studios

University of Technology, Sydney

Arts Practice, Practice Research

The term ‘practice as research’ carves out a territory for arts practice in academic environments, and refers to a broad range of research activity. Practice as research might denote a research process that leads to an arts-related output, an arts project as one element of a research process drawing on a range of methods, or a research process entirely framed as artistic practice.

Research might start or end in arts practice, draw on arts practice as a part of its process, or be wholly integrated into the shifting forms and outputs of an arts project. Practice as research is therefore not a ‘method’ as such.

Arts practices draw on a variety of creative methodologies that might be incorporated into interdisciplinary research projects as methodological innovations, providing new perspectives on and extending existing knowledge as well as materialising a different kind of knowledge practice.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s