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Searching and searching again – finding meaning through arts-based research

Mary-Rose McLaren (College of Education, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia)

Qualitative Research Journal

ISSN: 1443-9883

Article publication date: 4 November 2014




The purpose of this paper is to explore the interrelation of form and meaning in arts-based research and in academic writing.


It draws on two arts-based projects: one a study of Shakespeare undertaken with undergraduate students; the other a play written to convey a young boy's experiences of Second world War in an Australian country town. Both projects were arts-based research, aimed at extending knowledge of individual experiences, and the ways in which individuals bring knowledge and interpretation to their worlds.


It is hoped by examining the experiences of individuals the authors also learn about collective experiences and ways of building and communicating understanding. The paper proposes that intuitive ways of knowing are of equal value to other ways of knowing, and the Arts provide a space where intuition can be valued and explored.


The paper is also an experiment in form, seeking to find forms which reflect the nature of the research. Consequently it is constructed primarily from a piece of iambic pentameter, a play script and a sonnet. These three forms are used, in conjunction, to reflect upon and explore the nature of arts-based research for individuals and collectively.



McLaren, M.-R. (2014), "Searching and searching again – finding meaning through arts-based research", Qualitative Research Journal, Vol. 14 No. 3, pp. 307-317.



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