Research in ILT Review 8: Listening as Religious Practice (Part Two): Exploring Qualitative Data from an Empirical Study of the Cultural Habits of Music Fans

The article Listening as Religious Practice (Part Two): Exploring Qualitative Data from an Empirical Study of the Cultural Habits of Music Fans by Clive Marsh and Vaughan S. Roberts offered insight for qualitative data analysis on my research topic of engaging with music in a spiritual setting. I appreciated how the authors were able to distill the data from a variety of responses into a theoretical map. I found it helpful to see how they made sense out of complicated and immeasurable topics like emotional experiences.

headphone halo

Marsh and Roberts were able to create a framework for mapping the qualitative data from 231 listeners of music. The surveys’ findings identified eleven words that occurred consistently:

  • uplift (23 mentions)
  • relax (29)
  • inspiration (16)
  • memory (14)
  • energy (12)
  • calm (13)
  • joy (24)
  • happiness (27)
  • sad/sadness (13)
  • moods (27)
  • emotions (29)

From this data, the authors then determined four axes around a central hub of moods/emotions.

  • uplift—relax
  • inspiration—memory
  • energy—calm
  • joy/happiness—sad/sadness

Finally all the pieces are put together to form the Mood/Emotion map as seen below in  Figure 1, (Marsh & Robert, 2015, p.293).

emotional axis

The authors continue to frame their study around how participants make meaning in their lives through these emotions. However, not concrete data was provided to back up their framing around the term coined by Charles Taylor, social imaginary. Marsh and Roberts explained,

“Taylor understands this term as the way in which people imagine their social existence, how they fit together with others, how things go on between them and their fellows, the expectations which are normally met, and the deeper normative notions and images which underlie those expectations,” (2015, p. 292).

Explaining how moods and emotions play into the social imaginary model would have been the perfect ending to the study, but again, there was no data collection or analysis around this concept. Therefore, I will not include the social imaginary map.

In my study I plan to ask about emotions felt when listening to music at the spiritual center. This will help in the concept of how participants draw meaning from music as suggested from a previous article critique on The Role of Popular Music in the Construction of Alternative Spiritual Identities and Ideologies. Mapping emotions provides a helpful example on how to quantify the idea of how music affects a person’s beliefs and perceptions of the world. 

For my larger team’s literature review, this study can relate to all the after effects of arts and engagement. My teammates continue to see identity and community as emerging themes of our research. Mapping may also help with our larger literature review.

References

Marsh, C., & Roberts, V. (2015). Listening as Religious Practice (Part Two): Exploring Qualitative Data from an Empirical Study of the Cultural Habits of Music Fans. Journal of Contemporary Religion, 30(2), 291-306.

Photo Credit: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/05/how-headphones-changed-the-world/257830/

Research in ILT Review 7: When the Going Gets Tough: Barriers and Motivations Affecting Arts Attendance

The article When the Going Gets Tough: Barriers and Motivations Affecting Arts Attendance by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is a huge boon (thank you La Dawna Wert) in my research in music and art engagement. The NEA sponsored the 2012 General Social Survey (GSS), which is known as “the most frequently analyzed source of information in the social sciences, second only to U.S. Census data,” (National Endowment for the Arts, 2015, p.5) The data from this study is the most thorough, reliable, and accurate information I have found to date.

cover page

The most fascinating piece about the GSS 2012 study is that non-attendees were accounted for. This has been a major gap in other articles I have critiqued. It seems that gathering data from attendees seems easy enough, but the GSS 2012 sought out the interested non-attendees to get a better understanding of why people are not participating. In 2012, visual art exhibit and performance attendees included 126 million adults and 21 million interested adults that did not attend. Please see the summary of findings and exact percentages listed below. (All the images and graphs in this critique have been taken directly from When the Going Gets Tough: Barriers and Motivations Affecting Arts Attendance.)

summary of findings

summary graph

The GSS 2012 uncovered interesting information around the “why” for each group: attendees and interested non-attendees. The attendees’ motivations and interested non-attendees’ barriers are listed in Table II-1 and II-2 below.

Motivations

Barriers

It appears that not finding anyone to attend an artistic event with was a barrier, but it was not the number one reason to miss an event. However, socializing with family and friends was the number one motivation to attend an art exhibit or performance. Lack of time was the number one reason to not attend, followed by costs, difficulty getting there, not attending alone, not liking the event location, and simply lack of interest in the given event. I appreciated that the GSS 2012 continued to delve deeper into the barriers of attendance by further distinguishing between the reasons for not attending visual art exhibits versus performance events. The exact percentages are listed below in Figure II-5.

visual or performance graph

In addition to showing differences in barriers between visual arts and performances, it appeared that trends emerged based upon self identified social classes, which tie back into education and annual earnings. I found Figure III-3 below to be interesting because it accounted for a group not mentioned before: “other” non-attendees. These are the people that fill in the gaps and paint a picture for 100% of each class: lower, working, middle, and upper.

other non-attendees graph

It seems that class and education directly correlate to attendance of the arts. Beyond these interesting class findings, there are more overall key findings listed below.

Key Findings

In my research, I want to know if musical engagement at a spiritual center can be enhanced by these GSS 2012 key findings. I plan to include the following topics in my surveys:

Baseline Information

  • Self-Identified Class

Do Motivations include any or all of the following:

  • Socializing
  • Desire to learn new things

Do the barriers include any or all of the following:

  • Lack of time
  • Difficulty getting to the location
  • High cost
  • No one to go with

Exploring why people behave certain ways around the arts has been incredibly helpful. One of my previous article critiques on The Role of Popular Music in the Construction of Alternative Spiritual Identities and Ideologies stressed that more needed to be known about “how” people experienced spirituality through music, while When the Going Gets Tough: Barriers and Motivations Affecting Arts Attendance explores the “why” people attend the arts. Finding the GSS 2012 has filled a huge gap in my literature review and I can see it starting to refine my research plan. I also see how GSS 2012 shines light on my team’s broader research question around art engagement in any setting. The extensive data creates a good baseline.

References

National Endowment for the Arts (2015). When going gets tough: Barriers and motivations  effecting arts attendance. Research Report #59. Retrieved from: https://www.arts.gov/sites/default/files/when-going-gets-tough-revised2.pdf

Research in ILT Review 6: Homeless adults engagement in art: First steps towards identity, recovery, and social inclusion

This review studies the methods used in the article Homeless adults engagement in art: First steps towards identity, recovery, and social inclusion by Yvonne Thomas, Marion Gray, Sue McGinty, and Sally Ebringer. The aim of their exploratory study was to gain an understanding of the ways art engagement helped benefit homeless people. I found this study’s dissection of data collection and analysis helpful in the efforts to better understand my research topic on art engagement across a variety of settings and mediums.

iwantchange

Though their participant pool of four homeless adults was small, I appreciated their ethical decision to exclude certain participants. The authors wrote,

Initial plans to include up to eight participants were modified when it became clear that the level of disability experienced by the participants, specifically acute psychosis and cognitive impairment, meant that some intended interviews were neither appropriate nor ethical, (2011, p. 431).

Additionally, measures were taken for triangulation, which meant the inclusion of three stakeholders: the Facilitator, the Drop-in Center Manager, and a nurse. Their plan is making me question how I will triangulate my data.

Semi-structured and conversational interviews were conducted to explore the four participants experiences. Questions revolved around participants’ artwork, how participants became involved and the perceived benefit of art. The interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim.

Data were coded into key concepts per each participant’s interview. Then coded data was compared and contrasted to be grouped into categories. Each author reviewed the data for accuracy and reliability. Finally, three themes and sub-themes emerged.

Beginning to engage and participate

  • Getting started
  • Attendance and motivation
  • Continuity through doing artwork

Seeing the benefits

  • Process of discovery
  • Decision making/moving forward
  • Diversion from alcohol and other addictions
  • Relief from mental health issues

Respect and public recognition

  • Mutual respect and recognition
  • Cultural inclusiveness and respect
  • Public acceptance

In regard to my research theme and questions, our goal is to show how our questions can be answered through a variety of art forms and in any setting. I am looking for trends across a variety of cultures and demographics to see how art affects people’s involvement in various capacities. Our research questions:

  • What are the affordances and limitations of engaging with art?
  • How do the tools and practices allow/contribute for the creation and sharing of the art?

Art engagement with the homeless group in Australia, demonstrated many benefits and the only limitation was not having a larger participant pool. The results showed that the creation of art forms for display and sale was allowing the participants to not only share their art, but learn to reintegrate into and begin to trust society. This study was helpful in that it can be applied across all the settings of my larger research team.

References

Ebringer, S., Gray, M., McGinty S., & Thomas Y. (2011). Homeless adults engagement in art: First steps towards identity, recovery, and social inclusion. Austrailian Occupational Therapy Journal, 58(6), 429-436.

Photo Credit

Meek, Begging for change 2004

Research in ILT Review 5: Older People learning through Contemporary Visual Art—Engagement and Barriers

The article Older People learning through Contemporary Visual Art—Engagement and Barriers by Anna Goulding offered insight into data collection and analysis for my research topic on the affordances and limitations of engaging with art. The author’s research questions echoed the art and engagement components in my topic. She asked the questions:

  • How do older people understand and engage with art in the art gallery?
  • How can psychological barriers to engagement be overcome by pedagogical approaches?

The differences from our topic questions is that an older participant pool is used and the setting is an art gallery. My participant pool is not limited to a particular age range and my setting is a spiritual center. However, the methods for data collections were very similar to what I plan on using.

contemporary art

Goulding clearly defined the participant pool as 43 elderly participants from a variety of backgrounds and physical abilities. The group was given three guided art tours, which ended with discussions around the art pieces. For data collection purposes a baseline interview was performed, followed by semi-structured interviews after each of the three guided tours. All the interviews were sound recorded and transcribed, then coded for analysis using NVivo 8 software.

Baseline Interviews

  • age
  • gender
  • partner status
  • parental status
  • housing
  • previous occupation
  • educational qualifications

Semi-structured Interviews

  • participant led discussion based upon art interests
  • captured subtle shifts in affect over the course of the project

Goulding’s findings tend to mimic larger trends from my previous scholarly critiques; art engagement is largely motivated by the desire to be social and to learn something new. To explore trends in limitations it seems that fear is a major factor. To be more specific about Goulding’s research, here are summarized answers to the research questions as related to my topic of art engagement affordances and limitation.

When asked, “How do older people understand and engage with art in the art gallery?” participants responded that they:

  • valued discussing the ideas presented
  • expressed strong reactions to the exhibitions
  • thought support from peers was important
  • were stimulated to reminisce and self reflect
  • engaged with art in order to keep stimulated
  • noted the problem of relatively short research timeframes

When asked, “How can psychological barriers to engagement be overcome by pedagogical approaches?” some participants responded that they:

  • did not feel intelligent enough to understand exhibitions
  • were reluctant to take part in the project due to preferred isolation
  • felt the research format increased their confidence to participate
  • commented on the effectiveness of personal interpretation

Ultimately the largest challenge with data analysis in the arts is that it is hard to truly understand the complex web of motivation and barriers. I plan to further explore the arts council and “why” people are motivated or limited by art engagement. 

References

Goulding, A. (2013) Older People Learning through Contemporary Visual Art—Engagement and Barriers, International Journal of Art & Design Education, Vol. 32, Issue 1, pp. 18-32

Photo Credit

http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/top-6-contemporary-art-tumblr-blogs?context=tag-contemporary