Limitations

Limitations

While there are many strengths to my research, I recognize it is also not without limitations. In this post I discuss several potential limitations to my work, in terms of both method and outcome.

Method
     My data collection involves mining the “collective intelligence” (Jenkins, 2006) of YouTube for coherent thoughts from the general public. Although I see great value and promise in utilizing user-generated online video for prospective research, there are admittedly several limitations to using this platform. For example, I must acknowledge that while YouTube operates as a communication host for the general public, certain members of the public are excluded from this due to inaccessibility of technology. One must first have the tools and know-how to be able to film a video and upload it to the internet to be able to take advantage of the YouTube platform before one could potentially be included in my data analysis. Then, once a video is uploaded, it becomes merely one part of a plethora that may also render it inaccessible. YouTube (2014) reports, “100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute” (n. p.). Because I cannot possibly scour every video related to creativity in educational contexts, I made the decision to accept clips on a first come, first served basis (provided they adhered to my selection criteria). I halted my search under each subquestion for each educational model once the content of the clips combined became redundant and it thus became clear I had exhausted the spectrum of response. Because of this, it is possible that there may be variance in the ways some of the models operate on a local level that may not be captured in my data.
      In organizing the accepted clips, I grouped clips for each model under each subquestion together, then further ordered clips within each section according to a logical flow. For example, under the subquestion of support, for any given model, I often grouped the clips that talked about teacher practice together, followed by those that talked about the learning environment, and so forth. I recognize that in manipulating what clips go where, I am able to construct a narrative one way or another. If I end a particular section on a negative point, it may convey to the viewer an overall negative sense regarding that educational model (or vice-versa), thus impacting their overall interpretive conclusions.
     Of those voices that are represented in my data section, it may be that some could be perceived as being more “official” given the way in which they present themselves, that could influence a viewer’s interpretive analysis of which educational models nurture creativity best. For example, the clips in the collection range from people recording themselves on their smartphones to traditional news broadcasts, from all over the English-speaking world and from as far back as video technology has been in existence. It is possible that the quality of the footage could have a bearing on the viewer’s interpretation of the message they intend to convey. Likewise, with me as the narrator throughout the video series, I have consciously attempted to present content in an articulate, upbeat, and engaging way that is consistent (as a general rule) with good public speaking. Because of this, and because the platform I’ve adopted is atypical of a traditional dissertation, it may be said that I have blurred the lines between pop culture and scholarly activity. Personally, I do not see this as a limitation but as part of the inevitable evolution of scholarly practice. Smith (2012) asserts, “the importance of working with doctoral students so that they understand themselves as speaking to multiple audiences and of translating scholarship to larger publics and developing modes of public scholarship” (n. p.). Scholars must use the media of the day to connect their research with the people who may be impacted by it.
Outcomes
     Just as inaccessibility of technology can be a limitation to whom can participate in the data collection of this research, it can also limit the viewership of my work. Access to the internet (namely YouTube and this website, raisingcreativity.com) and a general familiarity with how to navigate it is essential to the consumption of my work. I have chosen this online format because today, generally speaking, inaccessibility of the internet is not an issue; in fact, I argue that my work would be more inaccessible if it were not online. The dissemination benefits of posting my work to the internet far outweigh any limitations of technological inaccessibility, in my belief.
     My research has been presented as nonlinear pieces of a polyptych that function as a coherent body of work. Each individual piece has been constructed so that it may stand alone, however the viewer/reader will no doubt develop greater understanding by digesting all (or the majority) of the pieces rather than just some. Within this view, a limitation to the blog and video format may be that viewers/readers are not implored to start at a particular point and continue through to a defined end point.
     Because art-based research aims to provide insight over answers, some may see this inconclusiveness as a limitation to my research. I disagree with this idea; I believe that it is a mature strength of arts-informed research methodology that it demonstrates inclusiveness and accounts for multiple nuanced conclusions instead of providing one generalized prescription for everyone. It asks the viewers to make informed decisions for themselves about the ideas presented based on their own thought processes and life journey. This echoes the independent critique (i.e. critical thinking) aspect of the creative process and positions the viewer as an active participant.
.      Finally, as I uncover how the various educational models account for creativity, I am not necessarily simultaneously uncovering which model is best overall. It is plausible that a model that appears to foster creativity very well could have major downfalls at the same time (for example, it may cost a lot of money meaning few could afford it). This is a limitation on an individual suitability level, based on individually perceived rationale and personal circumstance. Again, because this research aims to illuminate and not dictate conclusions, every viewer will be left to their own thinking, of which perceived limitations will vary.

 

References

FedCanada. (2012, May 27). Sidonie Smith – Toward a sustainable humanities.
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  .     Retrieved December 1, 2013, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNRVMTXAmyc
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Jenkins, H. (2006). Convergence culture: Where old and new media collide.
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.       New York, NY: New York University Press.
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YouTube (2014). Retrieved March 5, 2014 from http://www.youtube.com/yt/press/

Posted by Rebecca Zak

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