Thursday, 29 September 2016

Reflections on an Initial Research Methods lecture

In preparation for the production of a robust research proposal (- to position the major project that I will execute next year), it is likely that I will benefit significantly through appropriate collaboration with my other peers and students...

The subject of cooperation has been part of my enquiry throughout my professional life, and today a good source of academic research was provided to me, through the citation of a book written by SH Foulkes, written in 1957, entitled "Group Psychotherapy". It discusses the idea of the group matrix and the importance of sharing of individual participants attributes. (I have made a note of the citation for further reading).
During today's lecture, various ideas were put forward with regards to research 'methods'. Ostensibly this is a vehicle for exploration, a framework, in other words, to put forward a research proposal.

In creating such a plan, I need to be both strategical and tactical in my research, to give the proposal a unique 'edge'.
It is also important that I situate myself in the early part of the project regarding the wider context of art in general but more specifically practices in contemporary production using digital media techniques. In summary, I need to;
  • develop a structure
  • plan the approach
  • explore the plan
  • develop objectives
  • present the outcomes.
The outcome or artefact from this module is to create a presentation together with a written proposal consisting of approximately 3000 words or the equivalent as a visual presentation, together with 3000 words of a written proposal; about 6000 words in total.
The visual presentation is essentially a sales pitch which should last approximately 15 minutes. Both the visual and written presentation and proposal needs to demonstrate and evidence-based approach in the research towards the project for practice during next year.
In thinking about research, it is useful to find "a perspective". What I appreciate and believe I understand from this, is to find existing case studies and examples of similar work.  These studies will contextualise and appropriately position the intended practice towards the major project, but then just as importantly, outline why my proposal will be unique not just within an academic environment, but hopefully within the context of digital media at large.
As another cited example given during the lecture is the essay by Maurice Merleau-Ponty regarding "The Democracy of Experiences". (I also include this reference is an aide memoir for further reading).

In summary of the "Concepts in the Making," another useful source of academic reference material would be that of the philosopher Brian Massumi, & Erin Manning
  •  "Thought in the Act, Passages in the Ecology of Experience"…

These resources analyse the "created" conditions of "making", and thinking through doing. In other words, it can be articulated as "theory working through practice."


It is useful to consider a research framework as a triangulation of context, theory, and practice. The concept fits nicely with my reflections of my undergraduate degree which was a triangulation of research, pedagogy, and practice.
To further delineate these three themes, the contextual element needs to be considered to develop a framework to show some foundation or anchoring, that articulates where the influence of an idea or concept has come from either within current thinking or historical narratives.
In the case of theory, this can be articulated as a way of interpreting and understanding both existing and new ideas. I recognise that I will need to learn to spot the frameworks of understanding and research. In regards to theory, it is essential that articles and evidence are put forward which has been peer-reviewed in an academic environment or, in the case of journals, reputable organisations publish these.

Concerning the theme of practice, consider the current practitioners in not just the way that they both create and write about their work but also the way that you do it too.
As a further investigation and to support research methods, there are a variety of resources that specifically investigate research trends within our culture.
One of these is the World Global Style Network, (WGSN) which is a subscription-based trend forecasting organisation. This company regularly looks at the micro trends, the cultural fashions and vogues. Towards "how we make sense of the moment". I was delighted to find out that this resource is fully accessible to me through the trend hub within the University.
Other sources are
  • The Royal School of Art, which is particularly interested in the practical applications of design and ideas generation;
  • The Arup Foresight website, which is a great resource for drivers of change in culture
  • And the University of Manchester's website, methods at Manchester.