The music playlist as a method of education research

James Lamb*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

As technologies are woven deep into the fabric of our postdigital society and universities, there is a need to devise new research methods, and to seek out new kinds of research material, in order to better understand our complex and changing surroundings. One such approach, I argue in this article, involves creating and analysing music playlists as a way of critically exploring the learning spaces and practices of higher education. To make this argument, I describe and discuss the ways that music playlists contributed towards an ethnographic study of undergraduate courses in Architecture and History at a UK university. This involved inviting students to participate in the creation of ‘study playlists’, as I sought to understand how their learning spaces and practices were affected by digital technologies. This approach initially helped to establish rapport and trust with participants, as well as eliciting conversation and interview discussion which surfaced how students use streamed playlists and other digital technologies to negotiate personalised learning spaces. By helping to reveal these and other rituals, the music playlist was shown to work as an ethnographic artefact, while at the same time exposing the postdigital character of the contemporary university.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPostdigital Science and Education
Early online date15 Jun 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Jun 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • education
  • methods
  • music
  • playlists
  • postdigital
  • research
  • sound


Dive into the research topics of 'The music playlist as a method of education research'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this