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Research Case studies

Developing Performative and arts-based methods in social science


David Carless and Kitrina Douglas

This research project focuses on two related issues: how arts-based methods can contribute to analysis of social science ‘data’ and the potential of performative methods to enhance the communication of social science research.

The project developed in the wake of studies funded by the Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation and the Addiction Recovery Agency and has led to a string of live performances, audio recordings, journal articles, and book chapters.

While the approach differs markedly from traditional social science methods, our findings suggest it offers unique opportunities by encouraging engagement, stimulating emotional responses, supporting embodied knowing, and triggering personal reflection in local contexts.

Research outputs

  • Douglas, K. & Carless, D. (in press) Sharing a different voice: Attending to stories in collaborative writing. Cultural Studies/Critical Methodologies.
  • Douglas, K. (2012). Signals and signs. Qualitative Inquiry, 18, 525-532.
  • Carless, D. & Douglas, K. (2011). What’s in a song? How songs contribute to the communication of social science research. British Journal of Guidance and Counselling, 39(5), 439-454.
  • Carless, D. & Douglas, K. (2010). Performance ethnography as an approach to health-related education. Educational Action Research, 18(3), 373-388.
  • Carless, D. & Douglas, K. (2010). Under one roof. (Audio CD of songs, poems, and stories based on ethnographic research into the lives of people living in supported housing.)
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