DBR – Practice-as-Research – P. Kontouriotis


Artistic Research —> Scandinavian countries / Practice-as-Research —> English speaking countries

“Artistic Research” is a juxtaposition to “Scientific Research” —> it has never been able to emancipate itself, to be “leveled” to scientific research. The outcome is always an art work

Practice-as-Research —-> method of research, either in arts or science (e.g. surgical practice) / it does not refer to creating art works. An artist can also create a methodology, a tool box

PaR can be either practice-based or practice-led research (related to the AIM of the research, not to what can come as a by product)

  • Practice-based: investigation to gain new knowledge by means of practice (original investigation to gain new knowlege)
  • Practice-led: concerned with the nature of the practice and will lead to new knowledge that has significance for that practice (e.g. investigation of creating new practices based of other techniques, like play-fight, release technique, transform the painting into performance, translation between mediums)

Difference between pure practice and practice-as-research: PaR needs a question. You need aims and objectives. You know the context in which you operate and you will contribute with new knowledge. You must have the appropriate methods to answer your question.

Difference between method and methodology: You have to explain why you chose your methods. The reasoning, the rationale behind your methods is methodology.

Question: formulates the research problem you want to investigate. It comes out of your aims and objectives

Aim: intention and the aspiration of your study. (1 or 2)

Objective: the steps you need to take in order to achieve your aim. Like smaller aims that built on each other (between 4 and 7)

Research Questions how to:

  • relevant – to the field in which I operate / urgent / provide new knowledge for that space / Finding a gap within your context and position yoursefl in relation to the surroundings. Do I want to be in synergy? Anthagonize? Built on what they have done?
  • manageable – related to the time available, time, space and financial resources
  • substantial – “original” / not copying the question of someone else’s work?
  • consistent – it has to match the requirements of the institution (must have an idea of the agenda)
  • clear and simple – Do not complicate. It has to come from aims and objectives
  • interesting – make it interesting for myself

Avoid follwing trends, be connected to your topic, but don’t be too precious with it. Am I going to be able to fall in love with that practice. If you are too precios with it, it does not have space to have its own life.

Examples: Bad – Why are social networks harmful? / Good – How are online users experiencing or addressing privacy issues on such social networking sites as FB and Insta?

Make sure I always ask from an artistic perspective

Aims and Objectives: SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time constrained / Objectives can be like a checklist. After meeting objectives, did I reach my aims? After meeting the aims, did I answer my research question?

Methods (4 or 5):

  • Literature review
  • PaR
  • Action research (gaining knowledge just by doing something)
  • Survey (e.g. asking for people to look at any method used in which the results may be very subjective)
  • Interview
  • Participation (you participate in an activity connected to the research)
  • Observation
  • Ethnography – autoethnography
  • Field work – go to a place where you can find info
  • Case study
  • Experiment
  • Quantitative
  • Textual/ performance analysis (looking at the technical aspects mostly) – it can be your own work, as reflective tool
  • phenomenological
  • heuristic

Grounded Theory:

  • inductive: observation —-> generalization —-> paradigm
  • deductive: start from a hypothesis and check it
  • abductive: back and forth from inductive and deductive
  • coding: open, axial, selective (creating theory using Derrida’s iterability and differance)


  • psychoanalytic (e.g. Laura Mulvey developement of the notion of “male-gaze” analysing cinema through the lenses of psychoanalysis)
  • Post-colonialist
  • Feminist
  • Queer

Most of the time the methods will be combined

3 layers of research:

  1. questions, aims, objectives
  2. methods (understand how to conduct the methods above mentioned)
  3. delivery