Not all research revolves around lab work or controlled experiments. Creative activity, or artistic work, adds to our understanding of human expression. It can consist of the more traditional visual and performing arts — theater, music, painting, sculpture, dance, fiction and poetry writing — as well as newer forms of artistic expression, such as radio, TV, film, multimedia, game and interactive media production. Just as other types of research create knowledge about the natural world or society, creative exploration adds to our knowledge of the human experience.
The arts can also be a crucial component of archival research in the humanities.
Types of humanities inquiry can include
- Archival research
- Examination of historical documents
- Analysis of texts and manuscripts
- Artistic performance and applied theater research as inquiry
- Painting as research inquiry
- Research in applied theater
- Literary, film, and art criticism
- The artist as critic
- Thematic matrix analysis of a story
- Criticism as accurate, sharp, description
- Criticism as representation of reality
- Film criticism as analysis of “deep focus”
Adapted from: Della-Piana, C.K., Della-Piana, G.M., & Gardner, M.K. (2014). Evaluation of the Undergraduate Research Experience: A Practical Guide. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.