"Where's the knowledge Ronnie?": Epistemological and ontological issues in practice-based research.

Authors: Readman, M.

Conference: Media, Communication and Cultural Studies Association

Dates: 11-13 January 2012


Practice-based research is an increasingly popular mode of enquiry, yet it continues to be a site of contestation and disagreement. In the field of PhD work, particularly, the discussion revolves around the constitution of the 'knowledge object' and the degree to which this is contained by, illustrated by , or has another term of relation to the 'art object' or ‘production object’. Despite attempts to clarify the situation through institutional rubrics, the question of whether or not creative or expressive production work can, in itself, be 'research' is a vexed one. Some practitioners, for example, are irritated by the requirement to 'account' for their work in conventional academic language when, they argue, the work itself is already potent and expressive. Other practitioners attempt to achieve a rapprochement between practice and theory by producing work which is more explicitly a 'medium' for ideas.

Taking a steer from Bell (2006), this work in progress investigates the constution of the 'knowledge object' in practice-based research and, through examination of specific cases and published literature, attempts to make explicit the meanings, assumptions and tensions which underpin the debate. The investigation includes analysis of institutional codes of practice, interviews with practitioners and supervisors, and analysis of research outputs.

This is, therefore, 'meta research', or research into research, which seeks, ultimately, to contribute in some way to the ways in which such work is conducted and the claims that can be made for it.

Source: Manual

Preferred by: Mark Readman