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The experience of the need for hands-on-expression

, Union Institute and University, United States

Doctor of Philosophy, Union Institute and University . Awarded


This dissertation is a heuristic study of the experience of the need for hands-on expression and explores the ways in which people encounter hands-on activity in daily living and the experience of this need in learning. Building on knowledge from anthropology, neurology, education, and psychology, this research considered literature on needs theory, craft and culture, creative and mechanistic expression, ecological economics and sustainability, design process, expressive arts therapy, and expressive approaches to education. Review of the literature provides theoretical and applied knowledge that demonstrates the cultural, biological, educational, and psychological aspects of the need for hands-on expression.

Data collection was based on personal experience and interviews of six co-researchers. Themes were identified for explication and analysis. The themes discovered include: direct connections, guidance, empowerment, determination, outlook, interconnections, natural balance and control, outer dimensions, and cognitive capacity. These themes are interconnected along continuums of; abstract and concrete experiences, communal and personal qualities, feeling and observation, internal and external factors, motivating forces and limiting factors, and the interrelations between the head, hands, eyes and heart. From the essential themes, fulfillment was identified as the essence of the need for hands-on expression and development of cognitive capacities was the essence of the need for hands-on expression in learning. A creative synthesis is presented, followed by conclusions, implications, contributions to the literature, and recommendations for further study.

This research demonstrates the numerous qualities of the need for personal hands-on expression. Hands-on expression is a need for many individuals by helping to fulfill social and ego needs, and assists with the achievement of self-actualization along with spiritual needs.

The conclusions of this study are derived from the essential themes, and offer implications for individual experience, education, and social development. Ultimately, this study reveals the need for hands-on expression, supports a rationale for hands-on learning, and identifies benefits for cultural and social expression.


Pitonza, G.A. The experience of the need for hands-on-expression. Doctor of Philosophy thesis, Union Institute and University. Retrieved January 20, 2020 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 22, 2013. [Original Record]

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