About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 1481-1490
Publication year: 2011
ISBN: 978-84-615-0441-1
ISSN: 2340-1117

Conference name: 3rd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2011
Location: Barcelona, Spain

UNMASKING THE METHOD: MASK-MAKING AS A RESEARCH TOOL

M. Jesuvadian

National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University (SINGAPORE)
In this paper, I discuss mask-making as a qualitative research tool, especially when investigating sensitive issues like identity, race and ethnicity. I argue that using arts-based methodologies like mask-making, enables research participants to think, purposefully reflect and articulate their worldviews in very personal and impactful ways. Such methods enable individual voice, promote autonomy and provide the space and opportunities for the research participant to deeply ruminate, identify and express the ways through which s/he makes sense of his or her world. The data, I present in this paper is part of an auto ethnographic study I undertook as part of my PhD studies in Early Childhood Education. In this presentation, I detail the research design and procedures undertaken when using mask-making as a research tool.
The research questions that drove this study were:
a) How do I perceive myself?
b) What are the different factors that contribute to the ways I perceive myself?
In my study, I found that self-identity is multi-faceted in nature and draws heavily from the context, especially in a multi-racial post-colonial nation like Singapore. My experience of mask-making drew attention to the socially constructed nature of race and ethnicity in this setting. It permitted me to single out the different influences that shaped the ways I, a member of the Tamil minority group in Singapore, constructed my self-identity.
I argue that mask-making can be an effective research tool when working with minority and marginalized populations, as it provides a concrete experience in a safe environment, grants semiotic space for research participants to build an image and be invited to share their personal opinions, worldviews, beliefs and understanding when they freely deconstruct their masks into its constituents parts. Mask-making as a research tool, facilitates a richer understanding of the participant’s lived experiences and in that way, provides the researcher with authentic and relevant data that accurately reflects the participants’ perspectives of reality.
@InProceedings{JESUVADIAN2011UNM,
author = {Jesuvadian, M.},
title = {UNMASKING THE METHOD: MASK-MAKING AS A RESEARCH TOOL},
series = {3rd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN11 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-615-0441-1},
issn = {2340-1117},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {4-6 July, 2011},
year = {2011},
pages = {1481-1490}}
TY - CONF
AU - M. Jesuvadian
TI - UNMASKING THE METHOD: MASK-MAKING AS A RESEARCH TOOL
SN - 978-84-615-0441-1/2340-1117
PY - 2011
Y1 - 4-6 July, 2011
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 3rd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN11 Proceedings
SP - 1481
EP - 1490
ER -
M. Jesuvadian (2011) UNMASKING THE METHOD: MASK-MAKING AS A RESEARCH TOOL, EDULEARN11 Proceedings, pp. 1481-1490.
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