Initial Research Brainstorm
AAD 630 Research Methods
After reading the first few chapters of the text The Essential Guide to Doing Your Research Project by Zina O’Leary (2010), I think I have narrowed down a good preliminary research topic. I have not yet satisfactorily articulated the perfect research question, but I have discovered that I likely will not require or have need for a hypothesis, as I believe my research will be more descriptive or explorative. After reading the text, I have also discovered that I am naturally leaning towards a postmodern or post-positivist epistemological approach to research. Here are a few ways I phrased my research question as I brainstormed:
How can arts administrators (venue managers, specifically) use their musical programming to intentionally combat isolation and alienation often experienced by individuals in large urban settings?
I realized that it would be very difficult to measure “isolation” and “alienation!” Further refined questions included:
What are the quantifiable ways that music improves lives? What are the specific benefits (for the concert attendant) of participatory and/or interdisciplinary music concerts? How do traditional rock venues encourage participation from audience members? Are concert attendants more likely to have a transformative or “peak” experience at a venue that is especially “customer-oriented” or a venue that in some way prioritizes customer participation?
This led to a basic, succinct question, one which I actually attempted to answer with this project from last term’s Art in Society class.
How can a musical venue increase the power of the live music experience for the attendants?
The research aim for this question would be to identify factors or variables involved in a transformative or healing live music experience. Identifying what makes a live music experience transformative or healing would certainly require me to be comfortable with a subjective approach to my research. My research would likely involve human subjects. Because of my background in psychology, this appeals to me. I would look at what venues currently do to engage their audiences. These methods could include, but are certainly not limited to: encouraging social media usage before, during, and after concerts; running a volunteer and/or apprenticeship program for interested customers; programming interdisciplinary, innovative, or experimental performing acts; soliciting customer feedback via surveys or other means; the effect the aesthetic setting of the venue has; and nonprofit vs. for-profit venue issues. I would like to also investigate new ways venues can engage audiences. Why don’t traditional rock venues offer masterclasses, or for that matter, season ticket subscriptions?
There are many different directions I could take this research area, and of course I must narrow it down. I am excited, though, to see where reviewing current literature in some of the above arenas leads me. I suspect seeing what scholarship is out there will help me to clarify what I would like to contribute to the arts administration body of research.