Play/Drama As a Medium of Research
The convention idea surrounding research is that it is a boring piece of business involving voluminous books, never-ending articles, scores of journals, scholarly briefs and what have you. Yet, as researchers will know, that not all valuable information is the preserve or in the realm of books or printed material.
Also research does not mean studying a given set of topics that have to meet ‘academic standards’. If you get the approval of your supervisor, you can get easily conduct research and write dissertation on the topic of your interest, no matter how esoteric it may be. For instance, a great deal of research is done on the music, arts and culture. While researchers may still have to consult books and scholarly publications to understand the theoretical underpinnings of the topic they want to research on, their resources will also come through mediums like plays and drama.
For instance, if your research topic is 18th century theatre in England, you will have to per force watch a number of plays, documentaries and films to get a solid sense of your topic. This may involve going to libraries, digging up their old archives, sourcing videos and movies and documentaries specific to your topic. It is only by watching various types of 18th century London will you be able to provide more useful and theoretical insights into your topic. The beauty of such a topic is that you can actually watch and also, possibly participate in material related to your topic. Watching plays and drama iyou get a sense of the social conditions, historical importance, culture, lifestyle, gender, political and economic conditions of the era the play is representing.
As usual you will have to note complete details in regard to the production and mention the year, name of the company which has put up the production, et al. Let us suppose even if your topic of research is not in the realm of art culture and music, this should still not prevent you from exploring non-conventional sources of study such as play and drama. To take an easy example, consider that your research topic is related to the Mughal era socio-economic conditions in India. Certainly, some of your most important sources will be books, journals, essays and the like. However, theatre on the Mughal era is fairly popular and even common. Hence do not hesitate to see a production or two, or even more of plays related to the Mughal era. This can be an interesting source of information and maybe give you a more incisive, and perhaps, even real world glimpse into the Mughal era and its socio-economic conditions for instance.
Research and research sources are increasingly pushing their boundaries. As a researcher it is up to you, to not only find ways and means of making your work more interesting, but to get in diverse insights from a wide range of medium so that your final research can be rich, nuanced and filled with perspective and insight.