In the thick of things: drama as a qualitative methodology

Mark Vicars (College of Education, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia)
Tarquam McKenna (College of Education, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia)

Qualitative Research Journal

ISSN: 1443-9883

Publication date: 9 November 2015



The purpose of this paper is to consider how the drama space is a way of inquiry in its own right and as a complex “way of knowing” has a capacity to be a profitable location from which to artfully thread and critically interrogate the performances of lives-as-lived.


The autoethnographic discussion has an overlay of histography as it brings the “real-life” word to the drama space and builds on naturalistic and experimental research moving the reader through transformational inquiry to what they name as drama as a post-foundational research method.


In using drama as artful practices, intra-reflexivity – interior focused – felt as artistic “process” leads “psyche” to an empathic space for acceptance of the fugitive selves and demonstrates “queerness” through the narratives as monologues.

Research limitations/implications

The vignettes presented as monologue attest to the authors’ life histories and their “fugitive” ways of being as gay men.

Practical implications

The authors consider how drama as methodological practice can re work the notion of text-to-life or life-to-text, as an expression of a will to knowledge, of the authors working dramatically with their participants and students to find a way to articulate experience and place at the centre of research an agentic voice in relation to psychological, socio-cultural and historical interpretations.


Drama, as a methodological approach, has, the authors suggest, the potential to move beyond disembodied and abstract mental processes and to draw out of the closets the interpersonal relationships that have historically been seen as dangerous or disturbing.



Vicars, M. and McKenna, T. (2015), "In the thick of things: drama as a qualitative methodology", Qualitative Research Journal, Vol. 15 No. 4, pp. 416-429.

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