In consideration of appropriate research methods Carol Gray and Julian Malins visualising research guides to the research process in art and design published in 2004.
It is clear that it is possible to invent research methods that are specifically appropriate for the task at hand in an artistic endeavour. It seems appropriate that an inherent part of successful research methodologies is the action of reflective practice. By comparing one's own works and practice to those produced by other practitioners in the field, and also practice created by other artists from different categories or disciplines, provides a much richer outcome towards one's own artistic production. What is key in all of these research methods is the experience of making and creating artefacts and through this experiential engagement it is possible to reflect on what is successful and what is not on areas that are quite often purely subjective whether they are aesthetic or appropriate is always a matter of considered opinion. By making reflective analysis and at the same time keeping in mind theoretical research from other disciplines and combining that with visual comparison and research of other practitioners is in itself a triangulation known as a pedagogic approach.
To make suitable judgements on research methods Gray and Malins explained that "clearly articulated research questions to be addressed through the research and related objectives will enable those questions to be explored and answers. By specifying the research context for the questions and the rationale for why it is important will enhance creativity insights knowledge and understanding. Through the specification of appropriate research methods and answering the relevant research questions rationale can then be developed for use of particular methods.
The ideas of improving learning methods were articulated considerably through the work of psychologist anything house who brought out the theory known as having house theory in which learning followed by reflection and then followed by reflection at a later date was the most efficient way of grasping concepts. In 1984 further work was published by in "the experiential learning cycle" in which Colbert stated that there were four phases for most effective experiential learning. The first is the total immersion in a subject matter to establish a deep-seated experience. The second phase is a period of reflection which follows and concurs with anything house earlier theory. Kolb went on to create two further phases or stages the third one being a conceptualisation of the learning process in itself and by doing this action of the articulating the understanding gained through the earlier experience and reflection permits the fourth phase to be manifested through further ideation in order to develop new aims and objectives and therefore execute upon them in order to gather new fresh outcomes and experiences in themselves for further reflection. Thus starting the cycle again.
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