Call for Papers: Special Issue of Qualitative Research in Psychology

We invite the submission of manuscripts from those interested in publishing in a special issue of Qualitative Research in Psychology, entitled “Creative Representations of Qualitative Research”.

Special Issue Editors
Kerry Chamberlain, David Anstiss & Kathryn McGuigan


The presentation of research findings, discussions of research methods, and debates about research processes within psychology are frequently framed within relatively traditional forms when submitted for publication. As Parker (2004, p. 100) commented “The standard format of a research report is a secure framework for many writers, but it is itself a particular genre of writing that can turn into a constraint and inhibit innovative work.” Recently, we have seen a growing interest across the social sciences in using a variety of arts-based forms to conduct and represent research differently (e.g., Barone & Eisner, 2012; Fraser & Sayah, 2011; Knowles & Cole, 2008). Barone and Eisner (2012, p. 3) argue that “arts based research is a heuristic through which we deepen and make more complex our understanding of some aspect of the world.” Arts-based research may be divided into that concerned with knowledge production, where the arts-based approach is central to data collection, interpretation and representation, and that concerned with knowledge translation, where arts-based approaches are used to disseminate existing research findings in alternative forms. Arts-based research can involve a variety of forms and variants. These can include: fictional and literary forms, such as short stories (e.g., Leavy, 2013), poetry (e.g., Galvin & Prendergast, 2012), play scripts (Rossiter et al., 2008), or flash fiction (e.g., Chamberlain, 2015); visual forms, such as photography, painting, portraiture, drawing and collage (e.g., Aita, Lydiatt, & Gilbert, 2010; Sullivan, 2010), or performative forms, such as theatre (Rossiter et al., 2008) dance and movement (e.g., Eales & Peers, 2016; Margolin & Riviere, 2015). Specific art forms may cross these categories or have variants, and there can also be combinations of genres involved in any specific research project (e.g., Yuan & Hickman, 2015). We also note the value of arts-based approaches in therapeutic and applied work (e.g., Wilson, Bungay, Munn-Giddings, & Boyce, 2016), and consider that more translation of academic research into arts-based forms will make such research more accessible and useful beyond the academy.


Although a few psychologists have authored publications of this nature (e.g., Hatcher, 2011), very little writing using these alternative forms has been published in journals for psychology audiences. Accordingly, this Special Issue of Qualitative Research in Psychology calls for work of this nature. The objective of the special issue is to provoke researchers to think more deeply about arts-based forms of research, alternative forms of research representation, and to provide a venue for psychology researchers to produce research representations in arts-based forms. We invite the submission of relevant material using arts-based forms of creative writing around qualitative research and qualitative research practices for a Special Issue of Qualitative Research in Psychology. We seek a variety of work illustrating creative representations of qualitative research and qualitative research issues, with the aim of highlighting new ways of knowledge production and of representing our research using arts-based forms. Suggested topics that could be addressed by papers are:

· theoretical, exploring the value of, or the application of, some form of arts-based approach to research

· methodological, examining methodological approaches to qualitative research and their value, or examining specific methods of qualitative research and their value

· reflexive, presenting accounts of research engagement

· creative accounts of specific research, offering interpretation of research data, involving the interpretation of new findings or the reinterpretation of already published research findings

· other topics, as proposed by submitting authors

Articles may be presented either as stand-alone works involving a particular arts-based form (e.g., a poem or set of poems) or include a particular art-based form with accompanying textual commentary (e.g., three short poems around the research topic with related explication) or as more standard papers discussing the value, practice or theory of arts-based research.

Forms of representation could include, but are not limited to:

· poetic forms, using poetry to present findings, reflexive statements or illustrate methodologies and methods,

· theatrical forms, using play scripts, such as readers’ theatre, or similar

· fictional forms, including short stories

· creative non-fictional forms, reporting research findings and outcomes

· essay forms, discussing arts-based research, methods, theory, or ethics

· visual forms, including photo essays, artwork as research, art and research, or similar

· standard paper forms, discussing the value, practice or theory of arts-based research

· other forms, including mixed forms, as proposed by submitting authors

Special Section: As part of the special issue we also seek to include a special section involving flash fiction. Accordingly, we also invite submissions of fictional pieces of 55 words (no more, no less) that address the topic of research engagement in some way. This could relate to the researcher, methods, participants, reflexivity, or any issue that addresses research processes relating to research engagements.

Note: These 55-word submissions will not be peer-reviewed in the usual way, but will be selected for publication on the recommendation of two experienced academics with skills in creative writing. Depending on space constraints within the journal, we will seek to publish the ten best pieces of writing in this special section.


All manuscripts will be reviewed as a cohort for this special issue. Manuscripts should be submitted by February 28, 2017. All manuscripts, with the exception of the special section flash fiction submissions, will be peer reviewed, based on initial editorial screening and anonymous double blind peer review in line with journal editorial policy.

All submissions should be sent to . Submissions should comply reasonably with standard QRiP journal format requirements, although these may be relaxed to allow for the needs of specific forms of creative papers (e.g., no abstract, very short papers, photo-essays with few words). Please be aware that accepted papers will appear in print and electronic form, and must be suitable for both forms. If your submission contains images in colour these will appear in black-and-white in the print form and in colour in the on-line form of the journal.