Doing Critical and Creative Research in Adult Education

Case Studies in Methodology and Theory


Scholarship on adult education has fueled a high level of methodological creativity and innovation in order to tackle a diverse range of issues in a wide range of settings and locations in a critical and participatory manner. Adult education research is marked by the desire to do research differently and to conduct critical research with rather than about people which requires theoretical and methodological creativity. This entails a particular approach to how we seek to know the world in collaboration with people, to rupture hierarchical relations and to create new collaborative spaces of learning and research that encompass the diversity of people’s life experiences.

Doing Critical and Creative Research in Adult Education brings together both leading and emerging scholars in adult education research in order to capture the vitality and complexity of contemporary adult education research. This includes contributions on biographical, narrative, embodied, arts and media-based and ethnographic methods alongside the critical use of quantitative and mixed methods. This distinctive and rich methodological contribution has a general relevance and usefulness for all researchers and students in the social science and humanities, which draws attention to the importance of critical and creative participatory learning processes in human life and learning.
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Bernie Grummell is a Senior Lecturer in the Departments of Education and Adult & Community Education, Maynooth University. She previously worked with the School of Sociology and the Equality Studies Centre, University College Dublin. She is a co-director of the Doctoral programmes in Higher and Adult Education. Research interests include equality and inclusion issues in education.
Fergal Finnegan is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Adult and Community Education, Maynooth University and is a co-director of the Doctorate in Higher and Adult Education programme. His background is in community education and his research interests include transformative learning, biographical research, social class, equality and higher education.
The European Society for Research on the Education of Adults (ESREA)
List of Figures and Tables
Notes on Contributors

1. Introduction: Doing Critical and Creative Research in Adult Education
Bernie Grummell and Fergal Finnegan

Part 1: Biographical Methods and Oral History

2. Biographical Inquiry: A Collaborative and Egalitarian Approach to Adult Education Research
Barbara Merrill
3. Down to the River: People’s Memories and Adult Education
Emilio Lucio-Villegas
4. Transition to Adulthood: Learning from Young Adults through the Exploratory Use of Multiple Methods
Andrea Galimberti, Laura Formenti and Mirella Ferrari
5. Collaborative Story Telling: The Poetry of Everyday Life and the Challenge of Transcription
Siobhán Madden

Part 2: The Auto/Ethnographic Imagination

6. Doing Ethnographic Research in Adult Education: Reflections on Studying Citizenship in a Study Circle
Annika Pastuhov and Ari Sivenius
7. Autoethnography in, and as, Adult Education: Eavesdropping on a Conversation
David McCormack, Jerry O’Neill, Mary B. Ryan and Tony Walsh

Part 3: Arts Based Research and Creative Pedagogies

8. Finding Voice and Engaging Audiences: The Power of Arts-Based Community Engagement
Shauna Butterwick and Carole Roy
9. Education Will Set You Free: Research Poetry with Prisoners on Adult Education Programmes
Sarah Meaney
10. Seeing the Unseen through the Feminist Museum Hack
Darlene E. Clover

Part 4: Critical Mixed Methods and Critical Quantitative Research

11. Towards Critical and Dialogical Mixed Methods Resarch: Reflections on Our Journey
Alison Taylor and Milosh Raykov
12. The Use of Bibliometrics in Adult Education Research
Erik Nylander, Lovisa Österlund and Andreas Fejes

Part 5: Digital Research Methods

13. Investigating Adult Skills Assessment in ESOnline: A Digital Ethnography
Cormac O'Keeffe

Part 6: Sound, Vision and Story-Telling

14. Pedagogy of Song and Restorying Hope: Stories and Songs as Social Movement Learning in Ada Songor Salt Movement
Jonathan Langdon, Melissa Jackson and Sophia Kitcher
15. Visual Research Methods and New Masculine Subjectivities
Ann Hegarty

Part 7: Research on Embodied Knowledge and Movement

16. Research through, and on, Embodied Movement in Orienting One’s Self towards the Future
Silvia Luraschi
17. Planning with People: Reflections on Participation and Learning on Deliberative Walks
Peter Ehrström

Part 8: Creative Dissemination

18. Creative, Critical and Democratic Research Dissemination: Learners’ Lives and Further Education
Vicky Duckworth and Rob Smith
Adult education researchers and academics, adult education practitioners, postgraduate students and researchers in adult education and education, social science researchers and academics, arts and humanities researchers and academics.
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