Challenges of Creative Research with Adults and the Role of Confidence in Creativity

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 11:42
Oral Presentation
Jon RAINFORD, Staffordshire University, United Kingdom
Creative methods can be a way in which to explore common sense terms and allow for critique of the everyday through enabling discussions in a more engaged manner (Gauntlett and Holzwarth,2006). The use of drawing methods with adults is something that has had limited coverage in the literature. However as Kara (2015) outlines, these methods offer a way of going beyond categorical or binary thinking and to explore issues in a more nuanced way. They are, however, prone to challenges when individual participants do not feel confident in their creative abilities and therefore are prone to unpredictable and unforeseeable challenges which are not faced in the same way by interview based research.

For my research into understandings of practices surrounding widening access to higher education I felt it was useful to include some visual tasks to allow exploration beyond rhetorical discussions of over used terms such as aspiration and potential. Both these concepts are widely used and yet poorly understood and defined by both policymakers and practitioners. This has lead to conflation of different meanings. The focus on the need to raise aspirations is also in spite of a growing body of research that challenges the existence of a poverty of aspiration (i.e. Allen and Hollingworth, 2013; Archer, DeWitt and Wong, 2014)

Drawing on data from sixteen semi-structured interviews, this paper will explore two creative tasks as research tools that were adopted and contrast the success and the failure of these methods within the same interviews. One task used a structured drawing task and another involved construction with LEGO. This paper will draw upon the lessons learned to offer some ways in which we can consider how and when creative methods are useful with adult research participants.