Guerrilla research tactics: alternative research methods

Caldwell, Glenda Amayo, Osborne, Lindy, & Mewburn, Inger (2013) Guerrilla research tactics: alternative research methods. In Hamilton, Jillian G. & Carson, Susan J. (Eds.) Effective Supervision of Creative Arts Research Degrees Symposium, 7-8 February 2013, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD.


This case-study explores alternative and experimental methods of research data acquisition, through an emerging research methodology, ‘Guerrilla Research Tactics’ [GRT]. The premise is that the researcher develops covert tactics for attracting and engaging with research participants. These methods range between simple analogue interventions to physical bespoke artefacts which contain an embedded digital link to a live, interactive data collecting resource, such as an online poll, survey or similar. These artefacts are purposefully placed in environments where the researcher anticipates an encounter and response from the potential research participant. The choice of design and placement of artefacts is specific and intentional.

DESCRIPTION: Additional information may include: the outcomes; key factors or principles that contribute to its effectiveness; anticipated impact/evidence of impact.

This case-study assesses the application of ‘Guerrilla Research Tactics’ [GRT] Methodology as an alternative, engaging and interactive method of data acquisition for higher degree research. Extending Gauntlett’s definition of ‘new creative methods… an alternative to language driven qualitative research methods' (2007), this case-study contributes to the existing body of literature addressing creative and interactive approaches to HDR data collection.

The case-study was undertaken with Masters of Architecture and Urban Design research students at QUT, in 2012. Typically students within these creative disciplines view research as a taxing and boring process, distracting them from their studio design focus. An obstacle that many students face, is acquiring data from their intended participant groups. In response to these challenges the authors worked with students to develop creative, fun, and engaging research methods for both the students and their research participants.

GRT are influenced by and developed from a combination of participatory action research (Kindon, 2008) and unobtrusive research methods (Kellehear, 1993), to enhance social research. GRT takes un-obtrusive research in a new direction, beyond the typical social research methods. The Masters research students developed alternative methods for acquiring data, which relied on a combination of analogue design interventions and online platforms commonly distributed through social networks. They identified critical issues that required action by the community, and the processes they developed focused on engaging with communities, to propose solutions.

Key characteristics shared between both GRT and Guerrilla Activism, are notions of political issues, the unexpected, the unconventional, and being interactive, unique and thought provoking. The trend of Guerrilla Activism has been adapted to: marketing, communication, gardening, craftivism, theatre, poetry, and art. Focusing on the action element and examining elements of current trends within Guerrilla marketing, we believe that GRT can be applied to a range of research areas within various academic disciplines.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 57218
Item Type: Conference Item (Presentation)
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Guerrilla Research Tactics, Creative Research Methods, Participatory Action Research, Design Education, HERN
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > ARCHITECTURE (120100)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY (130200)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Design
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Current > Schools > School of Media, Entertainment & Creative Arts
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2012 [please consult the author]
Deposited On: 14 Feb 2013 04:16
Last Modified: 14 Feb 2013 04:23

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