What is the Wider University Community’s Understanding of Music Therapy? Learning About Research Through Designing and Conducting a Research Project

Beth Pickard, Jennifer Capstick, Paul Fernie, Chrissy Fuller, Michael Goodman, Aled Mainwaring, Erin Williams-Jones

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


The university campus provides a unique microcosm of stakeholders who can give insight into the context for collaboration and exchange across disciplines allied to music therapy. As part of a final year MA Music Therapy module, students and their lecturer collaborated on a research project with a dual purpose. The first purpose was to explore the wider university’s understanding of the discipline of music therapy. This may contribute to how the staff, students and visitors promote the field to their wider networks and gives the researchers a better understanding of how members of the public perceive the discipline. This offers an opportunity to identify gaps in understanding and potential areas for education amongst the wider population. The second purpose of the research project was to enable students to actively learn about research methods through engaging in a live research project. The proposed research question was refined through discussion of related literature (Abott and Sanders, 2012; Gregory and Gooding, 2013; McFerran, 2016; Silverman and Bibb, 2018), and a mixed-methods questionnaire was developed collaboratively to include a mixture of qualitative and quantitative questions with topics including the music therapist’s training and role, clients’ musical skills, referrals and the music therapy process. Students led the data collection activity across the diverse departments at the university; including peers from other courses, academics, library staff, catering staff, security staff and members of other professional services. The results will be presented in a visual format to enable accessible engagement with this small-scale study. The researchers interrogated their initial assumptions on this subject to explore whether they were valid and to see if there were any patterns of significant interest within the results. Recognition of the wider university community’s understanding of music therapy could support collaboration and exchange, as well as referrals and knowledge of the profession.
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


  • music therapy
  • research
  • university
  • community
  • discipline
  • understanding
  • perceptions


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