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Up Hill and Down Dale: The trials and triumphs of research and research training in music and music education

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Ewa Illakowicz.

The process of undertaking a research degree is a challenging endeavour in the most ideal circumstances. Music and music education research has traversed rough terrain in the recent past, particularly since the research agenda entered the conservatoire, and measurement exercises became commonplace. The advent of conversations about practice-led/as/based/led/centred research has opened up a new range of meanings for beginning researchers that have complicated a field previously dominated by musicology and music education scholars. Beyond the definitional challenges, there lie a number of new methodological approaches to consider, as well as hitherto little-used forms of presentation and dissemination. These factors conspire to make undertaking a research program even more exigent.

Using a student life-cycle approach, this presentation aims to provide stimulus for discussion about the process of undertaking and supervising a research degree. From writing an initial proposal, establishing a question, framing a problem, defining and searching the literature, generating data, analyzing the material, discussing outcomes and providing conclusions, the complete process is scrutinized. Using findings from the project Music Research Space, the session provides approaches to each phase of the research degree process, presented from the perspectives of institutions, students and supervisors. The data were gathered through an international survey of research students and supervisors, and through dialogue forums and interviews with stakeholders. Themes to be explored include resources, pedagogical approaches and the role of multi-exegetical formats, with a view to addressing the difficulties faced in navigating the new topography of music research.

The seminar will consist of a provocation followed by facilitated dialogue and discussion.

Scott Harrison is Deputy Director (Research) at Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University where he lectures in music, research methods and musical theatre. In 2010 he was the recipient of an Australian Award for Excellence in University Teaching and in 2012, he became a National Teaching Fellow. His major research areas are music and wellbeing, pedagogy, research training and masculinities. Scott’s blog is located at

This talk is part of the Arts, Culture and Education series.

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