Case studies

In the course of QUAL we worked with a number of Scottish arts organisations on qualitative research projects.  The questions, approach and outcomes of some of these projects are summarised in some of the case studies below, along with samples of research tools such as schedules and topic guides for interviews.

Red Note Ensemble: PDF download

Out of the Blueprint: PDF download

Creative Edinburgh: PDF download 

Magnetic North: PDF download

Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop: PDF download

We will be adding more Case Study resources to this page.

Further info

There is a large body of both general and specialist literature on qualitative research, but little specifically on a DIY approach for arts people. We hope that this section will provide directions for further exploration and we thank Alastair Evans, Head of Knowledge & Research, and his research team at Creative Scotland for their suggestions for this section.

About qualitative methods for evaluation

Evaluation Support Scotland (ESS)

ESS has good resources aimed at those not working in research and with limited experience of research.  It also runs a programme of training sessions., incudes resources around evaluation methods and tools.

Arts Council England (ACE)

ACE has information and tools for self-evaluation for arts organizations.

Arts Council Northern Ireland’s evaluation guide

More about methods

Scottish Government

Scottish Government Social Researchers have produced some short user-friendly introductions to some of the most common methods used in social science research, including discussion of complementarity between qualitative and quantitative approaches.

Culture Hive

A short, plain-English guide includes a section on creative ideas generation as a method.

Statistics Solutions

This website has a useful overview of aspects of qualitative research, with further links to follow on articles.

Government Social Research service

A guide to using social media in research

SAGE publications

Aimed more at a research audience, but useful for reference, available as an e-book.

Denzin, N.K. and Y.S. Lincoln, eds., 2011: The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Research (Los Angeles: Sage).

On arts practice as research method, available as an e-book.

Knowles, J.G. and A.L. Cole, 2008: Handbook of the Arts in Qualitative Research: Perspectives, Methodologies, Examples, and Issues (Los Angeles: Sage).


On using (rather than doing your own) research


Using Research Evidence: A Practice Guide. This resource, produced by the Alliance for Useful Evidence and Nesta’s Innovation Skills team,  considers research evidence, how to judge its quality and effectively use it.



Evidence for Success: The guide to getting evidence and using it. A practical guide for third sector organisations from Evaluation Support Scotland and the Knowledge Transition Network.