The Creative and Rigorous Use of Art in Health Care Research

Megan Nguyen


The adoption of arts-based research methods is gaining popularity in health care yet few of these methods integrate the arts throughout the inquiry. Given that so much of the human experience is imbued with emotion and complexity, it would be counter-intuitive to omit research methods, such as the arts, that mobilize different ways of thinking. The purpose of this article is to discuss the creative and rigorous use of art throughout the research process, drawing on the example of a graduate research study that explored women's narratives of intimate relationships while living with irritable bowel syndrome. The findings reveal that the arts can evoke a different kind of knowing and can portray the artist's personal thoughts and feelings without the use of words. Embracing creative functioning through the arts necessitates surrendering conventional ways of pursuing knowledge. This work advances research to date on arts methodology by explicating how the arts can be used to support each stage of the research.


arts-based research; arts-informed research; qualitative inquiry; qualitative methodology; intimate relationships; health care research; irritable bowel syndrome

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Copyright (c) 2018 Megan Nguyen

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