Monday, 18 July 2011

On Being Confused - Part 2!

While writing up my sketchbook and notes about Gina Glover, I'm once again confused over the difference between primary and secondary research!

It's not that I don't understand the definitions of each, its just how to define them within the context of studying art, and when they overlap:
  • Primary - original, first-hand accounts. In photography terms, I think that means my own work? Where I'm finding out information first-hand by making and doing. But what about finding out about an area first (such as my coastal defenses), and then looking at other photographer's work in this area, before I go to make my own work?

  • Secondary - I think this is when I look at other photographer's work, searching through the internet for styles, other photographers doing similar work etc, going to talks, galleries and so on.
But, what happens if, like this weekend, I go to an artists' talk and discover that they have taken similar images to mine, and then I look up this work - is that primary or secondary?!

Haha, maybe I'll just make all my sketchbooks and notes on loose leaf pages so I can sort them out into bundles when I finally work out the differences!! :)


Lesley Punton said...

maybe think instead of contextual research and thematic research. Primary and secondary don't really mean anything at all do they? (I'd not get too worked up though. Mixing and matching is fine in my book!)

Anyway, if you think of contextual research as the thing where you look into the work that other artists are doing (or writers, filmakers, etc), and thematic as where you look into the subject itself - so, it could be a historical book, social anthropology, a photographic archive with images of costal defences (for example), and yes, confusingly, writings by an artist who's concerned with a similar subject.

Primary research's gotta be your own stuff I suppose, but I don't think the term's particularly helpful.

glad to see the blog come to life again!

M-J Archibald said...

Thanks Lesley, I was kinda hoping you would help out - although I could have just emailed directly of course!

I suppose I'm just trying to get it clear in my head now so that I can create the right habits for the next couple of years.

As for blogging - I've always got plenty to say - sometimes too much - it's just finding the time to say it!!

catherine cameron said...

Impressed to almost 6 feet under here, oh boy, really impressive Marion, you really are the living and true example of "when you are dead busy you get more done". Thanks for introducing me to your blog :) catherine

M-J Archibald said...

You're welcome Catherine - was pleased to introduce you to my filing system too!! ;)

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