It’s tough coming up with research questions when you start out on a project because it’s a fundamental component that impacts the entire research process so is important to get right. The reason the research question is crucial is because it determines the focus of the study, and also guides all stages of the inquiry, analysis and documenting.
The research question(s) need to identify the areas of concern, be clear and feasible and also be worth investigating so contributes knowledge and value to the field.
Based on these factors and extensive discussion with the 33kEA team, Dr Nick Wilson, the PI of the project, came up with the below:
33k Everyday Artists background factors for consideration:
- Everyday culture of creativity
- University context
- Lessons learned?
- Introduced; developed (if already existing); embedded (consolidated)
- Sustainable practice
- Individuals vs. organisation
- Status quo vs. change (the ‘purpose’ of a university)
- Space for pro-active experimentation
- Play, fun, challenging traditional boundaries
- Discourse vs. practice.
- Chicken and egg: What does an everyday culture of creativity look like (what is distinctive about it)? How might we introduce and embed something when we don’t know what it looks like? (We’ll know it when we see it!)
- Process vs outcome: What do we do as ‘action research’ or ‘experiment’? How does the practice and process inform the outcome?
Suggested research questions:
- What (if any) are the distinctive features of an ‘everyday culture of creativity’ in a university context?
- To what extent (and how) can these features be introduced, developed and embedded through a pro-active initiative – such as 33 thousand everyday artists?
RQ1: This question challenges us to think carefully about what it is we are seeking to ‘embed’ at King’s. What are the ‘distinctive features’ that allow us recognise (and celebrate) such a culture? Are these features (in)visible? Are some of its features visible (because they are legitimised), whereas others are not (overlooked, excluded)? Is it, in fact, impossible to list a particular set of features as comprising such a culture (hence the ‘if any’), because it depends from context to context? Or, are a key set of ‘distinctive features’ necessary? How might we understand these features (e.g. a mix of internal; external; personal; organisational; PEST?)?
RQ2: This second question focuses on process; to what extent are the ambitions of 33KEA actually realisable? What are we learning through this ‘experiment’? How might the process be different in different parts of the university (which parts should we categorise?)? To what extent is there an everyday culture of creativity already (and if so, how is this manifested in terms of RQ1)? How might a proactive campaign help (or hinder) the development of such a culture, where it already exists?
The two research questions will be challenging to research because they interdependent. However, we cannot answer one without the other so will form a mutually-informing framework for our research.
Although the research questions might be slightly refined as we progress, it is useful to have delineated what exactly the project is about at the this stage and where we will be focusing our attention.