Volume 17 Number 8 April 14, 2016

How I Learned to Swim: The Visual Journal as a Companion to Creative Inquiry

Sara Scott Shields
Florida State University, USA

Citation: Scott Shields, S. (2016). How I learned to swim: The visual journal as a companion to creative inquiry. International Journal of Education & the Arts, 17(8). Retrieved from http://www.ijea.org/v17n8/.


In this paper, I discuss my engagement with a visual journal as a companion to creative research practice during my dissertation research. Grounded in arts based research methodologies; I explore visual journals in relationship to research, reflection and analytic processes. I begin with a discussion of the visual journal as an artifact of qualitative thought, including its epistemological, theoretical, and methodological undercurrents. Next, through a series of visual journal examples, I discuss how this methodological engagement influenced my research trajectory. I close the paper with a discussion of the implications for using a visual journal in research and offer suggestions for how to start your own creative research endeavors.

Visual Abstract

This article is available in PDF format.


The International Journal of Education & the Arts currently serves as an open access platform for scholarly dialogue. Our commitment is to the highest forms of scholarship invested in the significances of the arts in education and the education within the arts. Read more about our mission…


IJEA holds strong commitment to research in interdisciplinary arts education. Our editors are respected scholars from different arts fields working together to achieve our high standard. Read more about editors…