Creative Practice as Research: Discourse on Methodology

Conduct Background Research

This phase of the research is fairly straightforward. It is intended to firmly ground the researcher’s long-term memory in knowledge of the relevant domain, in terms of both critical theory and contextual creative works. This enables the practice-based researcher to “know what she doesn’t know”, in order to identify gaps and to engage fully in the planning process: generating and exploring ideas and setting goals for the creative practice. This stage is also commonly known as a literature review, and has the same purposes. With the long-term memory bolstered by this increased awareness of domain, the research question can be revisited to determine whether it remains pertinent or needs to be revised.

In my project, the research question itself remained valid; the background research into electronic literature and specifically digital fiction served largely to promote the planning process of the creative work. Exposure to and close readings of digital fictions (in various platforms such as Flash, interactive fiction, Javascript, hypertext, etc.) offered a reader’s perspective on the genre. I was able to identify key aspects that inspired me or added meaning in these texts, in order to plan their incorporation into my own works. These aspects included meaning-making through visuals (imagery and layout), reader participation (interactivity, contribution to narrative), and navigational structures.

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