Co-produced research with students as a vehicle for active, authentic learning in research methods

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


During this presentation we will share a piece of research that was co-produced with a cohort of MA Music Therapy students as part of their studies. Rather than this being the outcome of the students’ learning on the module, this piece of live research was co-constructed as a vehicle for learning about research methods, by embodying the role of researcher.
We wished to challenge the model of ‘students as audience’ in research methods teaching, and shift towards ‘students as participants’; with an emphasis on ‘research processes and problems’, rather than ‘research content’ (Healey, 2005; Pickard, 2021; Coombes, 2021). This aligns well with USW’s strategy, demonstrating a co-created and research-led curriculum. Students engaged in an intensive project over four weeks, where we collaboratively researched, developed and designed data collection tools and subsequently analysed data about UK-based musicians’ perceptions of the training route to the music therapy profession in the UK. The subject matter was highly contemporary following publication of the British Association of Music Therapy (BAMT)’s Diversity Report (2020) which identified barriers to accessing training, enabling students to actively participate in current debates within the profession.
Through a reflective process following the research project, students informed their assessed research proposals with their learning from being active researchers in the initial project. The model also afforded all students a publication at the European Music Therapy Conference, providing an opportunity to disseminate their findings to an international audience. Students reported that they thoroughly enjoyed the process and valued the opportunity to complete a contemporary research project and a publication prior to graduating. This also aligns with USW’s employability agenda, ensuring that students are equipped for both research and publication in their future careers.
We believe that from a pedagogical perspective, this active, embodied stance enabled deeper and more authentic learning than previous models which taught research methods from a more didactic stance. This model has become an incentive for applicants to the programme and we are exploring the potential for longitudinal studies over subsequent years.


British Association of Music Therapy (BAMT) (2020), Diversity Report (Online), Available at Accessed 3rd May 2022.
Coombes, E. (2021), A Continuum of Music Therapy Practice and Pedagogy: Critical Review, Unpublished PhD Thesis, University of South Wales.
Healey, M. (2005), Linking research and teaching exploring disciplinary spaces and the role of inquiry-based learning. In Barnett, R. (Ed), Reshaping the university: new relationships between research, scholarship and teaching, Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill/Open University Press, pp.30–42.
Pickard, B. (2021), The Shifting Research-Teaching Nexus: Exploring the Multiple Roles of Student, Participant and Researcher in a Music Therapy Training Programme, British Association of Music Therapy Conference, Belfast/Online.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2022
EventUSW Learning and Teaching Conference 2022: USW 2030 Strategy in action: engagement and collaboration at USW - Online
Duration: 20 Jun 202223 Jun 2022


ConferenceUSW Learning and Teaching Conference 2022
Internet address


  • pedagogy
  • research methods
  • music therapy
  • coproduction
  • student-led
  • music therapy research
  • collaboration
  • employability


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