Different ways of descending into the crypt: methodologies and methods for researching creative writing

18 March 2024
Academic articles

Abstract or Description

This article argues that we need to ‘descend into the crypt’ of creative writing, and use rigorous, academic research methods and methodologies to examine it. The communities that writing arises from, processes of writing, the unique psychologies of writers, the ways in which writing is used in different settings and eras all need to be researched using well-established modes of research. The article argues that while quantitative research – the use of numbers and statistics – can offer insights into creative writing, it is qualitative research which affords the richest and most meaningful avenues. It shows that auto-ethnography with its focus upon the lived experiences of authors can provide illuminating insights. But it also demonstrates that Action Research, where writers use this research method to actively improve their writing and/or teaching of it, has many affordances. Multi-modal research with its perceptions into all the different modes – pictures, moving images, embodied learning – of writing provides the researcher with cutting edge research tools. Many writer-researchers also find using psycho-analytical frameworks can nurture therapeutic insights into writers’ processes. This article is aimed at all creative writers who wish to explore writing processes further using established research.


Gilbert, Francis and Macleroy, Vicky. 2021. Different ways of descending into the crypt: methodologies and methods for researching creative writing. New Writing: The International Journal for the Practice and Theory of Creative Writing, 18(3), pp. 253-271. ISSN 1479-0726 [Article]

EDU-Macleroy2020a.pdf – Accepted Version
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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1080/14790726.2020.1797822


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