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‘Research’ Category

  1. Reflection on Learning Objectives, Research Methods

    March 18, 2013 by

    Reflection on Learning Objectives

    AAD 630 Research Methods

    At the beginning of this term, I hoped to “better define both where I fall on the positivist/post-positivist spectrum, and what epistemology is appropriate for my research area.” As I worked through my various research ideas this term, I became very confident that my research will fall under a post-positivist umbrella. This does not mean that the positivist paradigm holds no value to me, only that the innate subjectivity of my research topic necessitates an acceptance of a gray area that positivism does not seem to accommodate. I think this is true of most exploratory (and often, social science-based) research.

    I also stated, ” I also hope to discover a way to include surveying and experimental methods into my inquiry. I don’t know if it is possible to combine a more “hard science” approach with a softer social science approach, but both approaches to research interest me.” In my final research proposal, I did include surveys as a data collection tool, although I now think seeing surveys as “hard science” is a little short-sighted. It’s all in how the data is collected and analyzed that really determines what kind of lens the researcher is operating under, not necessarily the tool itself. Experimental methods are not likely to come into my data collection methods, because they just don’t have a place.

    As my final learning objective, I explained, “Through this class, I want to learn the best way to design my research in order to meet that practical end, while working with concepts as subjective and slippery as “transformation” and “healing.”” The “practical end” to which I was referring involved creating a set of usable tools for music venues, which I have since moved away from. Furthermore, I am no longer dealing with the concepts of “transformation” and “healing” head-on, because it didn’t seem feasible. I really changed directions with my research, while still retaining the essence of my inquiry. Through this class, I believe I successfully identified the most appropriate research epistemology and data collection methods to align with my research interests.



  2. Potential Research Methods

    February 18, 2013 by

    AAD 630 Research Methods

    Research Methods Blog Post

    In completing my second-year research, I will attempt to answer the question, What models of programming are most effective at engaging audiences at a live music venue? Further, what are the benefits of participatory models of programming for an audience member? Enhanced creativity? Increased social connections and/or creative collaborations between community members? Or simply, an increase in enjoyment of a performance?

    I expect my research to mainly be approached mainly from the audience perspective. I intend to conduct two or more case studies of organizations with innovative, interdisciplinary, and/or participatory music programming, using personal observation and possibly interviews with staff members to understand why innovative music or performing arts venues program the way that they do. The rest of my research will be conducted through audience surveys and/or focus groups pre- and post-performance. My research will be qualitative and exploratory in nature, as I attempt to understand what audiences stand to gain from a venue’s participatory model of musical programming. Rather than looking for a specific increase in measurable attributes within a population, I will seek to gain a deeper understanding of the experience of a smaller number of individuals. I believe this can best be accomplished through surveys and focus groups. In addition to these research methods, I will conduct a literature review in order to situate my research topic within a framework of live music as a breeding ground for improved quality of life, personal transformation, and possibly, social group development and inception of creative projects.


  3. Second-Year Interview and Learning Objectives

    January 21, 2013 by

    Interview with Second-Year AAD Student Jamie Walsh/

    Learning Objectives

    AAD 630 Research Methods, Winter 2013

    Alexandra Richardson


    Jamie’s Research


    I interviewed Jamie Walsh about her research topic and methods. Her research is entitled “Access and Inclusion: Artwork by Artists With Developmental Disabilities and Mental Illnesses.” At this time last year, Jamie was researching funding issues in several art centers in the Bay-area. While she is still focusing on the same art centers for her terminal research, she has shifted her focus away from funding to an area about which she is more passionate: how art centers can be more inclusive of artists with developmental disabilities and mental illnesses. She initially picked funding as a research topic because she thought it was practical, but ultimately decided that it would not sustain her interest for the duration of her research project.

    Jamie’s terminal research will take the form of a project (as opposed to a thesis or capstone). Her research methods include: literature review (specifically, reviewing literature concerning the historical segregation of individuals with developmental disabilities and mental illnesses, and the topic of “outsider art”); case studies of three art centers; interviews; and documentation and analysis. Jamie expects to end her paper with recommendations for other art centers that would like to be more inclusive of individuals with developmental disabilities and mental illnesses.

    Jamie’s research is positioned from social constructivist and subjectivist perspectives, as she is situating her inquiry in a historical and sociological framework. Since much of her topic involves the perceptions people have of developmentally disabled and mentally ill individuals, her research necessarily acknowledges multiple viewpoints and subjective truths. For this reason, I would say that Jamie’s epistemological approach is undoubtedly post-positivist.


    Learning Objectives


    As I undertake my own research this term in Research Methods, I hope to better define both where I fall on the positivist/post-positivist spectrum (is it a spectrum?), and what epistemology is appropriate for my research area. As I believe my terminal research will ultimately be based on case studies, I think my findings will be subjective by nature. As I explained in my Initial Research Idea post for this class, I expect that my research will also be explorative and descriptive, rather than geared towards testing a defined hypothesis. I think the results of my research will be, for example, transferable versus generalizable, and auditable versus reproducible. However, through this term in Research Methods, I also hope to discover a way to include surveying and experimental methods into my inquiry. I don’t know if it is possible to combine a more “hard science” approach with a softer social science approach, but both approaches to research interest me. My overall goal in my terminal research is to produce usable tools for venues or community music centers to enrich their offerings with more interactive, healing- or transformation-centered programming. Through this class, I want to learn the best way to design my research in order to meet that practical end, while working with concepts as subjective and slippery as “transformation” and “healing.”


  4. Initial Research Idea

    January 21, 2013 by

    Initial Research Brainstorm

    AAD 630 Research Methods

    Alexandra Richardson


    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.

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