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Researching participatory arts, well-being and health: Some methodological issues

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This article considers some of the methodological issues faced by a team working in the emerging field of participatory arts and health research. It argues that, in order to optimize research rigour, there is a need to address four fundamental issues. First, researchers should define the scope of the art(s) under study (in terms of domain, level of participation and potential impact); second, they should adopt a concept of health appropriate for the target sample group; third, the research method should be consistent with the extent and type of evidence already existing in the area and that to be sought; and finally, there is a need to select a means of data collection and communication that accurately represents both the outcomes/impacts of arts interventions and the experiences of research subjects, which may not be reducible to the language conventionally used in research. The issues are illustrated with an account of one research project being undertaken by the team.
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Keywords: arts and health; evidence; methods; older people; participatory singing; research

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Canterbury Christ Church University

Publication date: 2012-05-04

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  • The Journal of Arts and Communities seeks to provide a critical examination of the practices known as community or participatory arts, encompassing a field of work defined for this purpose as incorporating active creative ollaboration between artists and people in a range of communities.The journal will take a cross-artform and interdisciplinary approach,including work happening in performance, visual arts and media,writing, multimedia and collaboration involving digital technology and associated forms. In part this will create an archive that will document work which can otherwise be ephemeral
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