Grieg Research School in Interdisciplinary Music Studies
Invited speaker

Laura L. Ellingson

Resonating Notes: Embodying Music Research

Main content

Researchers begin with the body. Awareness of and active engagement with issues of embodiment enhances our ability to produce excellent qualitative and critical research that illuminates how our participants’ minds, bodies, and spirits embody music as learning, performance, and therapeutic practice. In this presentation, I connect current trends in critical, interdisciplinary theorizing of embodiment with creative, practical strategies for doing embodied qualitative research in interdisciplinary music research. Qualitative researchers can move beyond resisting the mind-body split to infuse their research with the vitality that comes from embracing knowledge production as deeply embedded in sensory experience.

Key Questions

  • How can qualitative researchers reconceptualize the role of embodiment in our methodological practices?
  • How can an active engagement with embodiment enhance qualitative and critical music research?
  • What are some strategies for embodying music research?

Recommended Reading

  • Ellingson, L. L. (2017). Embodiment in qualitative research. New York & London: Routledge.

  • Perry, M., & Medina, C. L. (2015). Introduction: Working through the contradictory terrain of the body in qualitative research. In M. Perry, & C. L. Medina (Eds.), Methodologies of embodiment: Inscribing bodies in qualitative research (pp. 1-13). New York: Routledge.

  • Pink, S. (2015). Doing sensory ethnography. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.


Dr. Laura Ellingson (Ph.D. University of South Florida, 2001) is the Patrick A. Donohoe, S.J. Professor of Communication and Women's & Gender Studies at Santa Clara University. Dr. Ellingson's passion for methodological and epistemological innovation infuses all of her research and creative work. She seeks to enlarge possibilities for spanning theoretical, paradigmatic, and representational boundaries through her development of a crystallization framework for qualitative research (Engaging Crystallization in Qualitative Research, 2009, Sage) and her articulation of embodied research practices (Embodiment in Qualitative Research, 2017, Routledge). Narrative, feminist, and pragmatic perspectives guide her ethnographic research in communication in health care delivery and in extended/chosen families.