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Use of Moustakas’ heuristic research for literary character development in arts-based research

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Abstract

Literary character development is as much process as product; this paper purports that Moustakas’ heuristic research method conventions can be exploited in arts-based research as internal creative contrivances whereby literary characters can emerge via shared pretense of writer and character as “only from the search within oneself can the creative emerge.” While parallel, heuristic research offers an intentionality beyond autoethnography and an alternative to the conformity of literary conventions. Using Moustakas’ heuristic research method may allow a literary character to emerge from the researcher’s subjective “inner experiences and convictions, in moments of solitude” for organic, authentic creation, whether real and/or imagined. Thus, a literary character may emerge from a shared pretense of the self’s (writer/researcher) and other’s (literary character) rich inner life, extension of self-exploration of aesthetic and/or lived experience, or as an adapted perspective on Geertz’s fictio and persona creation.
Paper presented at Eleventh International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Use of Moustakas’ Heuristic Research for Literary Character Development
in Arts-Based Research
ABSTRACT
Literary character development is as much process as product; this paper purports that Moustakas’ heuristic
research method conventions can be exploited in arts-based research as internal creative contrivances whereby
literary characters can emerge via
shared pretense
of writer and character as “only from the search within
oneself can the creative emerge.” While parallel, heuristic research offers an intentionality beyond
autoethnography and an alternative to the conformity of literary conventions. Using Moustakas’ heuristic
research method may allow a literary character to emerge from the researcher’s subjective “inner experiences
and convictions, in moments of solitude” for organic, authentic creation, whether real and/or imagined. Thus,
a literary character may emerge from a shared pretense of the self’s (writer/researcher) and other’s (literary
character) rich inner life, extension of self-exploration of aesthetic and/or lived experience, or as an adapted
perspective on Geertz’s
fictio
and persona creation.
Keywords heuristic research; arts-based research; literary fiction; emergent character development; creative
process
Throne, R. (2015, May 22). Use of Moustakas’ heuristic research for literary character development
in arts-based research. Eleventh International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, University of Illinois
at Urbana-Champaign.
Paper presented at Eleventh International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Use of Moustakas’ Heuristic Research for Literary Character Development
in Arts-Based Research
Robin Throne, PhD
School of Education, Northcentral University
rthrone@ncu.edu
ABSTRACT
Literary character development is as much process as
product; this paper purports that Moustakas’ heuristic
research method conventions can be exploited in arts-
based research as internal creative contrivances
whereby literary characters can emerge via
shared
pretense
of writer and character as “only from the
search within oneself can the creative emerge.” While
parallel, heuristic research offers an intentionality
beyond autoethnography and an alternative to the
conformity of literary conventions. Using Moustakas’
heuristic research method may allow a literary character
to emerge from the researcher’s subjective “inner
experiences and convictions, in moments of solitude”
for organic, authentic creation, whether real and/or
imagined. Thus, a literary character may emerge from
a shared pretense of the self’s (writer/researcher) and
other’s (literary character) rich inner life, extension of
self-exploration of aesthetic and/or lived experience, or
as an adapted perspective on Geertz’s
fictio
and
persona creation.
Keywords
heuristic research; arts-based research; literary fiction;
emergent character development; creative process
LITERARY CHARACTER AS SELF/OTHER
In
Creativity and Conformity
, Moustakas (1966)
speaks of the dimensions of an inner creative life that is
unique from that which is shaped by the outer
influences of life and society, and noted that when we
as human beings, whether as researchers, artists, self-
seekers, or in other manifestations of ourselves, crave
the acknowledgments of that outer life, we fail to open
the “new territories” of the inner and the intrinsic value
that only comes from that internal growing awareness of
the real feelings, real interests, and real talents of the
grander person within (p. 129). In this paper, I propose
that it is from within this inner terrain, where these
“internal pathways to the self” lie (Douglass &
Moustakas, 1985, p. 39; Douglass, 1998), that a scape
for discovery resides that may emerge from within these
subjective inner experiences of the writer/researcher as
a whole person (whether it is to understand self or
others). The five phases of Moustakas (1990) heuristic
research are applied as a stepwise creative writing
technique for arts-based research to develop complex
literary characters (see Figure 1).
Others have described the internal phenomenon
between the self and this “other” that exists from within
an extended consciousness and provides the great blank
canvas from which to create, and if you will, “two modes
of self-identity, where seeds of thought come into full
form, wholly developed (Goswami, 2014, p. 32), and
deserve manifestation outside of the self (Moustakas,
1966, 1974, 1990; Tagore, 1956). After all, this path of
discovery of the unknown via the other is good research
and good art (Leavy, 2012b). In fact, it may be one of
the revelations a new investigator finds as to how/why
we research the other and why we make artto find
ourselves, to learn more about ourselves, and to learn
and master these research methods for how we better
understand and explore our collective experiences
(Costabile, & Arkin, 2014; Geertz, 1980; Leavy, 2015;
Moustakas, 1995; Moustakas & Moustakas, 2004;
Shedlosky-Shoemaker). Or perhaps it is to see life
through that internal one-ness (Goswami, 2014;
Tagore, 1956) where we may find another/other/self to
fulfill our own creative potential as artists/writers/
researchers, our out-ness/in-ness, our ontological fit
(Mooney, 1954, 1959) by using arts-based research in
literary character development as an imaginative,
critical vehicle to betterment and insight (Barone &
Eisner, 2011, p. 107; Leavy, 2012a, 2012b).
LITERARY ARTS AND ARTS-BASED RESEARCH
How many of us have seen our lives as reflected in a
literary character: the affinities and resonation are
sometimes even greater than comparisons with persons
who actually lived? As succinctly understated, Geertz
(1983) noted “art is notoriously hard to talk about” (p.
94), and yet, for those of us literary artists and
researchers, and like to believe our characters are well-
founded in the hours of historical or narrative research
that prepares us to use literary devices to present a
distinctive research-based context, we know well of this
inner life exploration to locate these characters if they
are to emerge on the page in full form as manifested
through our own perceptions, experiences, and insights
within these research-based contexts (Morrison, 1984;
Shedlosky-Shoemaker et al., 2014). Or it may be
explained as “a fiction framed as ethnography rather
than history” (Geertz, 1977, p. 803). And, I might add,
for the purpose of literary character development via
heuristic research. Perhaps it is more what Geertz
referred to in Austen as “her reflexive fictionality” (p.
Paper presented at Eleventh International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
795) to dramatize social issues of her time, or Leavy’s
(2012a) more current note that social research and
fiction have a concommitant goal to improve human
understanding along with gains seen in emotional
intelligence and empathy from reading literary over
other fictive forms. When we bring rigorous
methodology to human narrative, we may further
understanding what is not yet known, and it still remains
as to why we must debate/defend fiction as research as
if
fictive
or
fictio
bring a subterranean partiality that
some see as simply remedied by adding
non-
(Barone
& Eisner, 2011; Leavy, 2012). Thus, I propose a
Moustakas’ (1990) heuristic model for a stepwise
creative technique for literary character development in
arts-based research:
THE HEURISTIC MODEL: A STEPWISE ARTS-BASED
RESEARCH PROCESS
Moustakas
heuristic process
Other stepwise
creative processes
Initial engagement
Preparation (Wallas, 1976)
Finding, recognizing, refining
(Nickerson, 1999)
Incubation
Incubation (Wallas, 1976)
Moving through, seeking
solutions (Nickerson, 1999)
Illumination
Illumination (Wallas, 1976)
Evaluating alternatives
(Nickerson, 1999)
Explication
Verification (Wallas, 1976)
Settling (Nickerson, 1999)
Creative synthesis
Reflection (Nickerson, 1999)
References
Barone, T., & Eisner, E. W. (2011).
Arts based research.
Thousand
Oaks, CA: Sage.
Douglass, B. G. (1998). Organizing data heuristically. [Seminar]
Cincinnati, OH: Union Institute & University.
Douglass, B. G., & Moustakas, C. (1985). Heuristic inquiry: The
internal search to know.
Journal of Humanistic Psychology,
25
(3), 39-55.
Geertz, C. (1977). Found in translation: On the social history of the
moral imagination.
The Georgia Review, 31
(4), 788-810.
Geertz, C. (1980). Blurred genres.
The American Scholar, 49
(2), 165-
179.
Geertz, C. (1983).
Local knowledge: Further essays in interpretive
anthropology.
New York: Basic Books.
Goswami, A. (2014).
Quantum creativity.
New York: Hay House.
Leavy, P. (2012a). Fiction and Critical Perspectives on Social
Research: A Research Note.
Humanity & Society, 36
(3),
251-259. doi:10.1177/0160597612451244
Leavy, P. (2012b). Fiction and the feminist academic novel.
Qualitative
Inquiry, 6
(18), 516-522.
Leavy, P. (2015).
Method meets art: Arts-based research practice
(2nd
ed.). New York: Guilford Press.
Mooney, R. L. (1954). Groundwork for creative research.
The
American Psychologist, 9
, 544-548.
Mooney, R. L. (1959). Creativity in perception.
Art Education, 12
(1),
5-6+10-12.
Morrison, T. (1984). Memory, creation, and writing.
Thought,
59
(235), 385-390.
Moustakas, C. (1966).
Creativity and conformity.
New York: Van
Nostrand Reinhold.
Moustakas, C. (Ed.). (1974).
Finding yourself, finding others.
New
York: Prentice-Hall.
Moustakas, C. (1990).
Heuristic research: Design, methodology, and
applications.
Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Moustakas, C. (1995).
Being-in, being-for, being with.
Northvale, NJ:
Aronson.
Moustakas, C., & Moustakas, K. (2004).
Loneliness, creativity & love:
Awakening meanings in life.
Bloomington IN: Xlibris.
Nickerson, R. S. (1999). Enhancing creativity. In R. J. Sternberg (Ed.),
Handbook of creativity
(pp. 392-430). New York:
Cambridge University Press.
Shedlosky-Shoemaker, R., Costabile, K. A., & Arkin, R. M. (2014).
Self-expansion through fictional characters.
Self and
Identity, 13
(5), 556-578.
doi:10.1080/15298868.2014.882269
Tagore, R. (1956). The world of personality. In C. Moustakas (Ed.),
The self: Explorations in personal growth
(pp. 76-85). New
York: Harper & Row.
Wallas, G. (1976).
The creativity question.
Durham, NC: Duke
University Press.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
With gratitude to Northcentral University for the travel support to visit the Clark Moustakas Collection maintained by the Department of Special
Collections, University of California Santa Barbara, that inspired the model development, and the ongoing support of the Midwest Writing Center.
Figure 1
. The model. Moustakas heuristic research as a stepwise
creative writing technique for literary character development in arts-
based research.
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