Why kids need art
April 28, 2012 9:38 AM   Subscribe

What are the most important/relevant research studies and academic journal articles on the topic of art education advocacy? Now that this semester is coming to a close, I'm interested in doing some reading while I still have access to a university library.

I have one more year of library access (with subscriptions to journals, databases, etc), and I want to make the most of it, especially between semesters. I want to learn more about topics that interest me, and I'm beginning with the question of why art education is important and valuable. I'm interested in knowing which studies are considered the most important or seminal on this topic. I've seen some advocacy materials from non-profit organizations, etc, but I'd like to go to the actual source of published research.

I'm not very experienced in library use, so the more information you have about the articles or studies you recommend, the easier time I will having finding them! Thanks all. I look forward to reading!
posted by pupstocks to Education (5 answers total)
Quick clarification, I'm looking mainly for studies related to visual art. Music studies seem to be a bit easier to come by? But both are good. Thanks.
posted by pupstocks at 9:52 AM on April 28, 2012

I'm afraid this isn't my field of education study, but if I were you, I'd go to university & college websites with good arts in education programs (Harvard has a big program, for example) and see if the professors who teach courses that sound interesting have published their syllabi publicly. Search your library's database for those articles.

If you *really* want to make the most of it, set up a research appointment with a reference librarian at your library! S/he will teach you how to find articles on the specific issues of arts education advocacy that you're most interested in.
posted by smirkette at 9:53 AM on April 28, 2012

Thanks smirkette! Reference librarian is a great suggestion. I'll make an appointment next week.
posted by pupstocks at 1:21 PM on April 28, 2012

Hooray for Reference Librarians! Don't forget that you can always do a follow-up or see if any of the other librarians has a specialty interest in your topic, if they weren't free for your first appointment. Many college reference librarians have done additional research or degrees and I'd bet your school has at least one with a background in art history, education, or museum studies.

In the meantime...Does your library have LibGuides or a Subject Portal to direct you towards resources in different areas of study? If you have access to ProQuest or another large database, try playing around with different keywords and phrases, like art + advocacy + education; while I don't like a lot of their preset keywords, they do provide a way of seeing similar articles. If your school has access to ProQuest Theses and Dissertations, you can see if there are any recent dissertations on the value of art education and the articles/journals they tend to cite from. You may also want to search around; I know a number of museum education blogs and books focus on the value of art education, so that could be another area to consider as some will link to published articles and books. Are you interested in a particular field of art or education level? Education within schools or outside? Special education and the arts? It may help you focus the keywords you want to use to consider different questions. You may also want to poke around the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts as they work with arts education and advocacy and have links to grant-funded projects and other types of research.

Some interesting ones on different ways art education has been used in various fields turned up through our article searcher:

"Using art-based chemistry activities to improve students' conceptual understanding in chemistry." Journal of Chemical Education, Dec, 2011, Vol.88(12), p.1610-1615.

"Evidence from the US tells us arts belong at the heart of the curriculum - but it's our last chance to make this happen." Times Educational Supplement, August 19, 2011, Issue 4955, p.17(1).

"Ways of seeing: using the visual arts in nursing education." The Journal of nursing education, 2010, Vol.49(12), pp.672-6.

"Learning to look: developing clinical observational skills at an art museum." Medical education, 2001, Vol.35(12), pp.1157-61.

"Finding Meaning in the Details." SchoolArts: The Art Education Magazine for Teachers, 2011, Vol.110(9), p.40-41.

Oh, and ps! Don't be afraid to ask for articles that you don't have access to through Interlibrary Loan (ILL) if your school offers it! Most journal articles can be copied and scanned for free, and your school probably works with a consortium or group of other libraries for physical copies of books and other materials.
posted by jetlagaddict at 7:47 AM on April 29, 2012

Great suggestions, jetlagaddict. We do have those databases and ILL. Your articles look interesting. Thanks!
posted by pupstocks at 8:45 PM on April 29, 2012

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