International Journal of Art & Design Education

Problems of Interdisciplinarity: Evidence-Based and/or Artist-Led Research?

Volume 27.3   2008



Art education as a distinct academic discipline is relatively recent and closely related to the growth of specialist teacher qualification programmes in university education departments. Opportunities for art teachers to engage in research were first provided in advanced diploma courses and specialist masters programmes set up in university education departments. Later these were followed by specialist doctoral degrees. Since the majority of such programmes are located in education departments, research training has tended to be social science based. Recently there has been a flurry of publications by art and art education specialists devoted to explaining and extolling the idea of art practice as an alternative paradigm. This article analyses and discusses this development and the status of research in the specialist field, drawing on the author's recent experience of carrying out two systematic reviews of studies in art education. It examines strengths and weaknesses in the two research paradigms and suggests ways forward for improving training in art education research.