Six rules for practice-led research
McNamara, Andrew E. (2012) Six rules for practice-led research. Text : Journal of Writing and Writing Courses, pp. 1-15.
Recent experience of practice-led postgraduate supervision has prompted me to conclude that the practice-led research method, as it is currently construed, produces good outcomes, especially in permitting practitioners in the creative arts, design and media into the research framework, but at the same time it also generates certain recurring difficulties. What are these difficulties? Practice-led candidates tend to rely on a narrow range of formulations with the result that they assume: (i) the innovative nature of practice-led research; (ii) that its novelty is based in opposition to other research methods; (iii) that practice is intrinsically research, often leading to tautological formulations; (iv) the hyper-self-reflexive nature of practice-led research. This set of guidelines was composed in order to circumvent the shortcomings that result from these recurring formulations. My belief is that, if these shortcomings are avoided, there is nothing to prevent practice-led from further developing as a research inquiry and thus achieving rewarding and successful research outcomes. Originally composed for the purposes of postgraduate supervision, these six rules are presented here in the context of a wider analysis of the emergence of practice-led research and its current conditions of possibility as a research method.
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