Method Meets Art, First Edition: Arts-Based Research Practice
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Method Meets Art, First Edition: Arts-Based Research Practice

by Patricia Leavy

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This book presents the first comprehensive introduction to arts-based research (ABR) practices, which scholars in multiple disciplines are fruitfully using to reveal information and represent experiences that traditional methods cannot capture. Each of the six major ABR genres--narrative inquiry, poetry, music, performance, dance, and visual art--is covered in


This book presents the first comprehensive introduction to arts-based research (ABR) practices, which scholars in multiple disciplines are fruitfully using to reveal information and represent experiences that traditional methods cannot capture. Each of the six major ABR genres--narrative inquiry, poetry, music, performance, dance, and visual art--is covered in chapters that introduce key concepts and tools and present an exemplary research article by a leading ABR practitioner. Patricia Leavy discusses the kinds of research questions these innovative approaches can address and offers practical guidance for applying them in all phases of a research project, from design and data collection to analysis, interpretation, representation, and evaluation. Chapters include checklists to guide methodological decision making, discussion questions, and recommended print and online resources.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This excellent, comprehensive work will be wonderful for classes and is also a good resource for researchers who want to explore different artistic approaches and their relationship to qualitative research. I plan to use it for both of these purposes. I highly recommend this book."—Carolyn S. Ellis, PhD, Department of Communication, University of South Florida

"The topic of this book is timely. Arts-based qualitative methods have grown and evolved rapidly over the last decade, and this book gives a very good overview of the most popular approaches. Most arts-based researchers have expertise in only one area and tend to write in that domain. An overview such as this one, with the added examples at the end of each chapter, is a useful contribution to the field."—Lynn Butler-Kisber, EdD, Director, Centre for Educational Leadership, McGill University, Canada

"Leavy effectively lays out the range of practices and potentialities for social scientists who are interested in adding arts-based approaches to their qualitative research practices. The book provides valuable jumping-off points for using innovative methods in the domains of narrative, poetry, music, performance, dance and movement, and visual arts. Instructors of qualitative methods courses across the social sciences would do well to add this resource to their libraries and course readings as a way of introducing senior undergraduate or entry-level graduate students to the invigorating possibilities made available when 'method meets art.' I would recommend the text for survey courses in qualitative methods and specialized courses in alternative or specifically arts-based approaches to research."—Monica Prendergast, PhD, Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences, Division of Creative Arts and Learning, Lesley University

"This book seamlessly addresses fundamental questions about arts-based methods. It explores what arts-based methods are; their epistemological and theoretical foundations; the types of research questions for which they are suitable; how they are used to collect, analyze, interpret, and represent qualitative data; and how they can be evaluated. Leavy's engaging prose and examples convey the utility and beauty of arts-based methodologies."—Carol A. Bailey, PhD, Department of Sociology, Virginia Tech

"Leavy's wonderful book provides a substantive and outstanding introduction to arts-based approaches in qualitative inquiry. Chapters on each of the major art forms include an elegant overview of the modality; key text, journal, and online references for additional information; and representative contributions by some of the leading writers in qualitative research. Method Meets Art makes a significant and, most important, pragmatic contribution to the emerging literature in arts-based inquiry. This volume is not just for artists: Leavy provides all social researchers and students an excellent resource for exploring the aesthetic paradigm and an evocative genre of qualitative research."—Johnny Saldaña, MFA, School of Theatre and Film, Arizona State University

"An excellent introductory text for arts-based research (ABR). After nearly 90 years of debate about ABR and 35 years of controversy about its cousin, arts-based educational research (ABER), it is time for the arts as research to reside in the research methods classroom and in research proper....Leavy adeptly relates the most basic techniques in ABR—giving them away to students and researchers alike. In addition, she exceeds the introduction of techniques by presenting excellent examples of ABR research by experienced ABR methodologists. These elucidate ABR methods by showing students and beginning researchers what those methods 'look like' when done well....Leavy's book is generally superb....I greatly appreciate Leavy's adept handling of this introduction to ABR, showing that it is legitimate, useful, and authentic among research methodologies. I have taught research methods in behavioral science for over 15 years and will use Leavy's book alongside a traditional research methods text, next time around. It is an excellent resource for students, for beginning researchers, and for academicians in the arts, literature, and social and behavioral sciences."—PsycCRITIQUES
Qualitative Research
"Her book is equally relevant to experienced researchers looking to synthesize their artistic and research interests, and students seeking to develop an understanding of innovative research practice. Of particular help for students is Leavy's succinct account of the positivist and qualitative research paradigms, which she uses to contextualize arts-based research, and the 'Checklist of Considerations' and 'Discussion Questions and Activities' that feature in each chapter which ensure that the material, while academically challenging, is accessible to inexperienced researchers. Students and researchers alike will no doubt benefit from the extensive lists of suggested books, websites, and journals that accompany each chapter, and by creating individual chapters for narrative analysis, poetry, music, performance, dance and movement, and visual art, and by including within each chapter an exemplar of relevant published research, Leavy enables her readers to gain a sense of how a particular art form might suit their research needs and skills-set, while simultaneously validating each methodology and providing guidance over how specific research practice might be emulated."—Qualitative Research
Counselling and Psychotherapy Research
"I found the book interesting and one I believe will be useful for those wanting to embark on using a different approach to research....The 'discussion questions and activities' included in each of the chapters will promote thought and help students clarify their hopes and expectations of their chosen research method. Likewise the 'suggested annotated reading' and 'web sites and journals' at the end of each chapter signpost the student to where they might further explore their research options....For those practising counselling and psychotherapy, whether engaged in therapy and/or research and not familiar with using alternative methods of enabling people to capture experience I believe this book could offer fresh insights to support and further their endeavours."—Counselling and Psychotherapy Research
International Journal of Education and the Arts
"A breath of fresh air....The contribution of this book to the field of research method is invaluable not only because it is an oppositional effort to resist such a tendency of 'Déjà vu all over again,' but because there have not been any introductory books on arts-based research that we could recommend to graduate students who are interested in arts-based research....Leavy successfully establishes the legitimacy of arts-based research in social science research and succinctly explains how pivotal arts-based research is to the future of academic research. Leavy invites the reader to imagine a world of arts-based research alongside her, keeping the tone of a novel narrator rather than that of an epic narrator, encouraging the reader to an open dialogue rather than being conclusive and closed. In order to serve as an introductory book, Leavy offers readers reader-friendly, step-by-step description of six different genres of arts-based research: narrative inquiry, poetry, music, performance, dance, and visual art."—International Journal of Education and the Arts
Weekly Qualitative Report
"Maybe [the] strange divide between art and science in research and especially qualitative research will begin to erode away as more readers find Patricia Leavy's new 2009 tome, Method Meets Art: Arts-Based Research Practice, and begin to realize that researchers conducting narrative, poetic, musical, performative, dance, and visual forms of inquiry employ rigorous methods of data collection, analysis, interpretation, and representation too. Consumers of Leavy's book should also find a comfortable introduction to these arts-based approaches and hopefully an invitation to try some of these methodological modes in research of their own. In her well-written and engaging work, Leavy carefully introduces the world of arts-based research by walking us through the paradigmatic contexts that have helped to shape this approach to inquiry as well as to establish the conflicting perspectives that hinder many to see these methods as being research at all. She also recounts the struggles with monolithic standards of quality in qualitative research and calls for a dialogue to continue regarding the aesthetics and pragmatics of research. By engaging in such conversation Leavy suggests we all could benefit from challenging our own comfort zones and begin to see that we can all learn from our colleagues regardless of the method being utilized....In reading Leavy's book I can now see that all forms of research can inform, perform, reform, and transform what we think we know about the world around as well as ourselves as researchers and readers."—Weekly Qualitative Report

Product Details

Guilford Publications, Inc.
Publication date:
Edition description:
Older Edition
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author

Patricia Leavy, PhD, is an independent scholar, formerly Associate Professor and Chairperson of the Sociology and Criminology Department and Founding Director of the Gender Studies Program at Stonehill College. She is the author or coauthor of numerous books on research methods, arts-based research, and transdisciplinary research. She is also a novelist and the editor of three book series. Dr. Leavy was named the New England Sociologist of the Year by the New England Sociological Association. She lectures and presents workshops, and is frequently cited in the media for her expertise in gender and popular culture. Her website is

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