Due to the diversity of academics engaging with research into higher education, there is no single methodological approach or method that would embody higher education research. In this chapter, we put forward the case that this is a good thing and argue that higher education research can benefit from fusing existing methodological and theoretical paradigms with more creative, playful and artistic approaches, more commonly associated with sociological or anthropological research and performance-based disciplines. In order to frame this attitude of creativity, playfulness and openness, we start by providing a brief delineation of the research field and methods of higher education research. In this context we introduce the Deleuzoguattarian concept of rhizomes and assemblages to provide the grounding for what we mean by creativity and playfulness, which leads to our proposal of a renewed approach to research into higher education. We draw upon our own work on embodied academic identity and trainee teachers’ perceptions of their placement experiences in order to critically explore the benefits and potential pitfalls of incorporating this creativity and playfulness into higher education research.
Brown, N. & Leigh, J. S. (2019). Creativity and playfulness in Higher Education research. In: Huisman, J. & Tight, M. (eds.) Theory and Method in Higher Education Research Vol. 4. Emerald Publishing Limited, 49-66. DOI: 10.1108/S2056-375220180000004005