Engaging with arts-based research: a story in three parts

Kitrina Douglas*, David Carless

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
5 Downloads (Pure)


Qualitative psychology researchers of today face numerous practical, ethical, political, and theoretical challenges. We have often asked ourselves how we might respond to these multiple and complex challenges. On our evolving research journeys, we have found that arts-based methodologies offer one effective response. In this article, we explore our experiences of doing arts-based research in psychological contexts, by sharing and reflecting on three short stories. The stories illustrate how each arts-based project has required of us three distinct waves of engagement: interdependent engagement with people and place, aesthetic engagement with sense making processes, and emotional engagement with and of audiences. We use the story form to evoke each wave of engagement because it allows us to communicate the qualities of that engagement without finalising, foreclosing, or restricting the variety of ways arts-based research might be conducted.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)156-172
Number of pages17
JournalQualitative Research in Psychology
Issue number2-3
Early online date26 Jan 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • arts-based research
  • creativity
  • critical psychology
  • filmmaking
  • qualitative research methods
  • music
  • narrative
  • performative research
  • songwriting


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