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Using Arts-based Research Methods in Language Teaching Research: Drawings, Photography, and Clay Work

Eric Ku
Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan


Arts-based research methods have been applied extensively in the social sciences, such as special education, sociology, and psychology. Scholars in the social sciences have shown that arts-based research can “[offer] ways to tap into what would otherwise be inaccessible [and], make connections and interconnections that are otherwise out of reach” (Leavy, 2020, p. 31). Thus, arts-based research is especially effective for research that aims to “describe, explore, or discover” new phenomena and processes unfolding the real world. While there are many additional strengths to arts-based research methods, arts-based research methods are still not commonly used in language teaching research. Scholars new to arts-based research methods may be curious about it, but also feel hesitant to use arts-based research methods due to questions such as “Are arts-based research methods really research?”, “What can we actually learn from arts-based research methods?”, or “How do we analyze arts-based data?”. All of these are legitimate questions that need to be addressed. This presentation will address those questions as well as present examples from existing literature and the presenter’s personal experiences using arts-based research methods in language teaching research studies. The presentation will focus on three different types of arts-based research methods: drawings, photography, and clay work. This presentation is particularly suitable for scholars who are new to arts-based research methods and want to learn practical applications of arts-based research methods in language teaching research.


Leavy, P. (2020). Method meets art: Arts-based research practice. Guilford Publications.


research methdology, arts-based research, language teaching, language teachers, qualitative research

International Joint Conference of APLX, ETRA40, and TESPA 2023