Colchester, United Kingdom

Creative Research Methods

online course
when 22 July 2024 - 26 July 2024
language English
duration 1 week
credits 4 EC
fee GBP 492

Learn to critically evaluate and implement creative research methods, covering their contribution, applications in individual and group settings, ethical considerations, and analytical techniques, with hands-on sessions and reflective exercises.

Need to Know

While prior knowledge of qualitative methods is beneficial, it is not mandatory. Bringing your research topic or questions to the course is encouraged, but not mandatory. The course requires an approximate time commitment of 40 hours, which includes reading materials and participating online.

In Depth - Key topics covered

Day 1: Overview and introduction

Exploring the contribution of creative methods to research in the social sciences and assessing the motivations behind the use of creative methods: what can they help us answer? You will discuss the relationship between creative approaches and qualitative methods, and consider logistical issues in the implementation of creative approaches.

Post-session exercise: Research questions for creative methods

Day 2: Creative approaches in interview settings

You will learn about the different types of creative tasks that can be used in the context of individual qualitative interviews. Focusing on mental mapping and its many applications, you will consider the strengths and limitations of these techniques and their suitability for different types of research topics and populations.

Post-session exercise: Cognitive mapping design for your research project

Day 3: Creative approaches in group settings

Explore different ways in which creative tasks can be used in group settings, such as workshops and focus groups. You will concentrate on visual focus groups as a novel method that embeds a collective drawing task in the context of a focus group. You will consider the strengths and limitations of these techniques and their suitability for different types of research topics and populations.

Post-session exercise: Visual focus group design for your research project

Day 4: Hands-on session

Depending on interests, there will either be a speculative visual focus group or individual interviews with cognitive mapping. You will have a chance to experience what creative methods look like from the perspective of both researchers and research participants. More details about this session will be discussed at the beginning of the course and the activities will take into account individual preferences.

Post-session exercise: Draft reflective memo

Day 5: Ethical considerations and analytical strategies

Finally, you will be encouraged to think critically about the ethics of doing creative research. You will consider the ethical challenges that these creative methods can pose for us, either as standalone methods or in conjunction with other qualitative methods. Reflection on how to address these ethical issues before, during and after data collection will be required. You will go on to discuss how to analyse the data that you collect through creative tasks and how to relate these creative outputs to other data sources.

Post-session exercise: Draft analytical memo on one output.

*Readings and exercises may be subject to change.

Course leader

Elisabetta Ferrari is a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Sociology at the University of Glasgow, UK. Her work draws on qualitative and interpretive methods, with a specific interest in creative methodological approaches.

Target group

A demanding audience (researchers, professional analysts, advanced students)

Course aim

By the end of this course, you will be able to:
- critically evaluate different creative research methods and assess their suitability for your research projects;
- develop research designs that include creative methods and implement them;
- assess the ethical implications of creative research methods and address them in your research designs; and
- apply analytical techniques to creative research data.

Credits info

4 EC
You can earn up to four credits for attending this course.
3 ECTS credits – Attend 100% of live sessions and engage fully with class activities.
4 ECTS credits – Attend 100% of live sessions, engage fully with class activities and complete a post-class assignment.

Fee info

GBP 492: ECPR member - check whether your institution is a member here:
GBP 985: ECPR non-member


Funding applications for the 2024 ECPR Methods School summer programme are now opening for applications. Apply before mid-April 2024. For more details on funding opportunities for ECPR's other events, please visit