Research Methods in the Visual Arts

   Syllabus for Spring Semester 2000

 Art 5363

Section 001
 3 credit hours (3:3:0)

 Rm 201 AH

 6:30 - 9:20 p. m.

 Dr. Karen Keifer-Boyd

 Office: 1003-F AH

 Ph: 742-3010

 Office hours:

 Thurs. (12:00-2:00 p.m.)
 or by appt.

 Course Table of Contents
  • Threaded discussion postings of semi-structured interview notes about research methodoology (keep professor/researcher anonymous).

Catalogue Description: A survey of research methods applicable to the visual arts. Prerequisite: Departmental approval.

Purpose: To assist graduate students in understanding research processes and practices and, subsequently, to initiate students' preparation for executing scholarly research and writing. A third goal is for students to learn to critically read both quantitative and qualitative research.

Worldviews & Research Methodologies: Research requires creativity, ingenuity, and thoroughness. There are several different types of research design. Students will be introduced to a full range. The deliberate choice of a design increases the likelihood that the data will yield information on the research question. However, worldviews influence research design choices. Therefore we will identify worldviews embedded in research methodologies.

On-line for MAE Students: This course is offered on-line for MAE students who will join the Tuesday night sessions in synchronistic discussions, post work for feedback, and receive course materials from the Internet site created in WebCT.

Weekly Email Communication (Requested during weeks 2 & 3 of the class). Each individual should write a note to me ( that might:

(1) Ask a question about something mentioned or that occurred in the class.
(2) React and reflect on what has occurred in class.
(3) React to a reading or Internet resource that relates or was assigned to the class.
(4) Connect the class's session to a current social or personal issue
(5) Describe a concern related to the course or your degree program.


Continue to Use Email Communication in this Course to:
(Use ATLC computers or our own computer & modem or hardwired dorms.)
(1) Connect with others: professors, students, listservs (both informal and scholarly exchanges)
(2) Send resources to others and receive them too.
(3) Ask questions, get feedback, or give comments & feedback
(4) Network with a global community
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Course Objectives to Enable Students to:

I. Recognize philosophical implications for choosing research methods and procedures.
  a. Descriptive (usually qualitative, may be quantitative) Includes naturalistic methodology, ethnography, & the methodology of constructivist inquiry.
  b. Historical (usually qualitative, rarely quantitative)
  c. Experimental (quantitative, controlled variables)
II. Formalize research.
  a.  Analysis of the problem (finding, formulating, limiting, and stating the research problem)
  b.  Addressing the problem (defining strategies to address the problem; determining research methodologies; gathering, analyzing, interpreting data; drawing and summarizing conclusions consistent with the original problem)
III. Conduct literature reviews.
  a. Awareness of computerized indexes, including Uncover, FirstSearch, WorldCat, Dissertation Abstracts, Newsbank, ERIC, & Art Index, along with the specific limitations of each.
  b.  Access specific computerized indexes.
  c. Conduct keyword searches according to the Library of Congress' hierarchical and "controlled vocabulary" and in other subject classification listings, including "Thesaurus of ERIC descriptors."
  d. Obtain sources listed in the computerized indexes.
  e. Use Boolean logic & advance power search engines to limit searches.
  f. Awareness of art references including: Art Schools, Bibliographies and Research Guidebooks, Biographies, Business and Law, Criticism, Dictionaries, Directories, Encyclopedias, General Reference, Health, Periodical Indexes, and Reproduction Indexes (see Art/Reference Bibliography for listings).
  g. Learn Internet search strategies and become familiar with selected World Wide Web sites for the visual arts.
 IV. Select appropriate research methodology with an understanding of research design parameters for procedures to collect, analyze, interpret, and present information.
   a. Research design (overall plan) including case study, experimental design, analytic design (historical inquiry), action research, evaluation methods, and content analysis methods
   b. Methods of data collection (techniques & tools)
   c. Methods for data analysis (techniques & tools) including: observation (recording units), qualitative analysis (triangulation), documents (text analysis), statistical analysis (descriptive and inferential statistics)
   d. Presentation of research (dissertation components, writing styles appropriate to research design, style manuals, & ethical considerations)

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Course Projects & Evaluation Criteria:

 20% Preparation for class including completed reading assignments & interview notes on a selected researcher.
 20% Extensive literature search on a specific research problem that includes a lit review chapter outline based on a problem statement.
 20% Three critiques, using appropropriate "standards of adequacy" criteria, of published research--each with a different research design
 20% Write a preliminary research proposal including the proposed research design
 20% Final Exam

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Texts Used in the Course:

Text: McMillian, J. and Schumacher, S. (1997). Research in education: A conceptual introduction (4th edition). NY, NY: HarpersCollins College Publishers.

A primary source will be TTU's main library. You may also use the School of Art's Visual Resource Center. I will distribute handouts and selected readings as needed. Bring a one-inch, 3-ring binder to each class with divider pages to organize handouts and your research.
Also visit the topical linked bibliography and the Web site hot list

Attendance Policy:

Attendance is very important and required. We only meet once a week! Much of the content of the course happens in class. In-class experiences can not be made up. Students will be expected to arrive on time and be present for all class sessions. Two absences or reoccurring lateness may mean that a letter grade will be deducted from the final grade for each additional absence. If you need to be excused from class for religious reasons or due to TTU sponsored activities, TTU policy asks that you provide a written note prior to the absence and make up the work.

I encourage you to attend professional conferences in your field, therefore your absence in class for such attendance is excused with prior arrangements.

Academic Integrity:

TTU's policy concerning academic integrity states that for "students to present as their own any work which they have not honestly performed is regarded by the faculty and administration as a most serious offense and renders the offenders liable to serious consequences, possible suspension." See the section on "Academic Conduct" in the Code of Student Conduct for details on cheating and plagiarism. Plagiarism is the use of more than three consecutive words or ideas of another author without proper citation. Proper citation formats must follow one of the academic writing style manuals such as APA, Chicago, or Turabian. All images and text from the Internet, journals, or books must have full citation to be used in your work.

Americans with Disabilities:

If you have alternate abilities which require alternate arrangements for you to meet course requirements, please contact me (Americans with Disabilities Act, 26 July 1990).

Health and Safety Policy:

Every effort will be made to comply with the intent of state laws or acts and the University Health and Safety Program in an effort to maintain a safe academic and working environment. Information and awareness of safety factors will be included in the course content when applicable. Know before an emergency happens if your insurance requires you to use a specific hospital's emergency room. The campus emergency number is 9911. Emergency call boxes are in the Art Building basement by the restrooms, and in the subbasement near the woodshop and the photo area. Another is located on the fifth floor of the Architecture Building. Flashing lights and an alarm inside a building mean fire. Exit quickly. An outside alarm is a tornado warning. Go to the sub-basement, not outside. For safety reasons, children, pets, and bikes are not allowed in labs. Rollerblades and skateboards are not allowed in buildings. When assisting a person who is bleeding, use disposable gloves which are in the first aid kits in the labs. All accidents must be reported to Safety Coordinator, Robert Terrell. Solvents go in the cans in the art building painting lab room 103 never in 201 sinks or the ground. There is a big yellow flammable cabinet in 103 for disposal of solvents. Clean clay boards and tools while clay is wet. When working with dry powders (e.g. plaster, clay, paints) avoid breathing dust by wearing a gauze mask.

Course Calendar Outline for Spring 2000

Art 5363: Research Methods in the Visual Arts




Basics to All Research (6 classes)
 Jan. 18
Introduction to the course:
Worldviews and research methodology
Methods refer to techniques or specific sets of research practices.
Methodology refers to a theoretically informed framework.
 Jan. 25 Philosophical implications of research methodology & intro to problem statements Discuss chapter 1 and your diagram/map of a topic
 Feb. 1 Formalized research; operational definitions of constructs & variables; selecting a theoretical and philosophical framework for a study (i.e., its purpose and the logic for the limits of a study) & critical theory as methodological approaches: e.g., Lacanian psychoanalysis, semiotics, feminism, Marxism

Discuss chapter 3

Due: A problem statement sent via email to me by 7p.m. on 1/31. (Use chapter 3 to help formulate it.)

Please bring 2 objects to class: one that you consider good art and one that you do not consider art.

 Feb. 8

Formulating Problem Statements to Identify Key Words for Literature Reviews & Conducting Literature Reviews

(Meet in the main floor of the main library by the reference desk.)

 Discuss chapter 4
 Feb. 15

Internet Search Strategies (literature review continued)

(Meet in the new instruction laboratory in the main library)

 Discuss chapter 2 &

your literature review topical outline draft

 Feb. 22
Thesis and dissertation proposals - presentational formats ("proposal" assignment introduced)
 Discuss chapter 16

Qualitative / Historiography (4 classes)
  Feb. 29

Introduction to qualitative research methodologies (ethnographic methods, interviews & observations)

Journal critique assignment introduced.

Due: Preliminary literature review
Discuss chapters 11 & 12 & Eisner, E. (1993). The emergence of new paradigms for educational research. Art Education, 46 (6), 50-55.
 March 7
Continue qualitative research methodologies (Action Research)
Ethical consideration of and procedures for research involving human subjects
Use non-numerical unstructured data, indexing, sorting & theorising (NUD.IST) computer assisted qualitative analysis software

Discuss chapter 14 &

May & Diket (1997). Part I: "Teachers-as-researchers" & Part II: Action-Oriented Study as Research (pp. 223-245) &

qual. computer handout.

 March 14 NO CLASS - Spring Break Week (3/11-3/18)
 March 21
Art Historical Inquiry (a qualitative methodology)
Types of Analysis: Content Analysis, Semiotic Analysis, Evaluation Designs, Theme, Comparative

Discuss chapter 13 &

Bal, M. & Bryson, N. (1998). Semiotics and art history.

 March 28
Art Historiography continued (practice activity) & Philosophical Inquiry
Ethical consideration regarding documentation and publication of questionable acquired material.
Interpretative researcher roles: phenomenology, critical theory, interpretative analytics, deconstruction
Guest Presentation: Shwu-Huoy Tzou, Ph.D. in Fine Arts candidate, Art History and Criticism emphasis - Dissertation: Defining the Relationship Between Western and Asian Intermedia Installation Art Since the 1960s (example of semiotic analysis)
 Discuss chapter 15

 Quantitative (3 classes)
 April 4
Quantitative research methodologies--an overview
Descriptive Statistics, Central Tendencies, Chi Square, Degrees of Freedom, Probability & Significant Levels
 Discuss chapters 5 & 6
 April 11
Continue quantitative research methodologies (survey & other nonexperimental designs)
Chi-Square (practice activity)
 Discuss chapter 7 & 8
April 18 Experimental Designs & Application of Inferential Statistics
Discuss chapters 9 & 10
Due 4/18: Critique of 3 studies in research journals

 Applications & Publishing (2 classes)
  April 25
Share findings via a synchronistic (real-time) visual chat (meet in 205 AH) from semi-structured interviews of a professor/researcher about his/her research methodology.
In-class we'll print logged dialogue, then code and sort for emergent topics.
How to Publish: Preparing, submitting & reviewing journal manuscripts

Due prior to class: Post on the course's threaded discussion your semi-structured interview notes about research methodoology (keep professor/researcher anonymous) .

Discuss pages 23-24, 180-186, & 397-400

  May 2 Student research proposal presentations  Discuss pages 23-24, 180-186, & 397-400
  May 9 FINAL EXAM: Summary & review of qualitative and quantitative research methods (7:30-10:00 p.m.)  Due: Written research proposal