The Shifting Research-Teaching Nexus: Exploring the Multiple Roles of Student, Participant and Researcher in a Music Therapy Training Programme

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This presentation reflects upon the findings of a small-scale pedagogical research project which explored whether the lived experience of participating in a live research project enabled music therapy students to better understand the process of developing their own research protocol as part of their MA Music Therapy studies. Various dimensions of the music therapy curriculum are discussed in the literature (Bunt et al., 2014; Goodman, 2015; Holden, Coombes and Evans, 2018) but the acquisition of researchful thinking, a necessity of the HCPC (2013), is perhaps under-explored.
Through engaging with Healey’s (2005) Research-Teaching Nexus, the multiple roles of student, participant, researcher and co-producer were defined, explored and reflected upon, to enable an experiential learning process to occur as students were invited to join the lecturer as co-researchers on a live research project, developed collaboratively.
This research project engaged the wider university community to capture their understanding of the discipline of music therapy. Students designed and delivered a mixed-methods questionnaire to capture the wider university community’s perspectives, before collating and analysing the findings to disseminate within and beyond the university. Engaging in this project at the outset of the module enabled active learning about ethics, research methods, logistical elements and reporting procedures. It was also insightful to understand the wider interpretation of music therapy by colleagues and allies in other disciplines.
A Focus Group was held following submission of students’ own research projects to evaluate to what extent the students felt they had been informed by their role as participants and researchers, as well as students on this module.
Emerging themes from the Focus Group thematic analysis will be presented as well as potential recommendations for the development of this pedagogical model to widen access and participation in research for future cohorts of music therapy students and practitioners.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 9 Apr 2021
EventBritish Association of Music Therapy Biannual Conference, 2020 - Queens University, Belfast, Belfast , United Kingdom
Duration: 3 Apr 20205 Apr 2020


ConferenceBritish Association of Music Therapy Biannual Conference, 2020
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • pedagogy
  • higher education
  • music therapy
  • active learning
  • research


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