Research in Practice-Based Art
Examples | Methodology | Student Resources | Glossary | Teacher Resources
  • Read the descripiton and explore the various fields of experimental art research.
  • Study the examples to see what others have done.
  • Navigate through the Steps to plan your methodology.
  • Use the Student Resources to assist in carrying out your research.

Practice-based Research - Is a form of research that aims to advance knowledge partly by means of practice. The type of research is an original investigation undertaken in order to gain knowledge and understanding. It includes the invention of ideas, images, performances and artifacts including design, where these lead to new or substantially improved insights. Practice-based refers to creative work in a number of disciplines (fine arts, design, architecture, performing arts, literature) characterized by their reliance on artistic activity and creative output. Practice-based research, by implication, suggests that this artistic activity and creative output be regarded as a type of research.

See other types of Fine Arts research. Anthropological Criticism Experimental Historical
Step 1


  1. Conceptualize an idea.  It may be intuitive, playful, and maybe even random.  Discuss and explore the issues. Develop a research question.

  2. Develop a plan of action.  This may be clear but tentative that allow for changes later on. Note: The plan of action is often revisited and edited as new information is discovered.  Here you decide what form of artistic output your research will have.  Propose a creative product "can provide new insights, leading to the principle that an exhibition or other public result of practice may have the same role as a journal article" (AHRC Research Review, 2007:12) 

  3. Develop a list of anticipated results.

  4. Research the knowledge and data that will support your question. Brainstorm possible resources (experts, professional journals, books, web sites, etc.).  Start a reflective journal, detailing the process of research.
Step 2


1. Develop your artifact (painting, drawing, film, dance, play, sculpture, etc.)

2. Discuss with your mentor about your findings.  Reflect  on the process. 

Step 3


1.  Present the outcomes the research outcomes.  This may be in the form of an exhibition.  Share both the artifact and the research process.  State clearly both the question and conclusion. Summarize the process used, options considered, and difficulties encountered.

student resources
  • Museum of Modern Art- New York City's museum that includes information on exhibits, multimedia and blogs.
  • E-Dance Project- by funded by the joint AHRC+EPSRC+JISC e-Science Initiative, this research site examines the academic field of dance in capturing and documenting the incremental development of ideas and their material manifestation in the creative process within practice-led research.
  • ARTiFACT- A Problem to Project-Based Interdisciplinary Curriculum for Visual Literacy
  • Cool(E)Motion- By creating a gigantic and unprecedented art project, cool(E)motiontm wants to re-engage the public on the topic of climate change.
  • Journal of Practice Research: The Role of Documentation in Practice-Led Research- This article seeks to illustrate that documentation of art practice can be a means to record that interplay and it can be used as relevant material in practice-led research.
teacher resources
Kennedy Center Artsedge Lesson Resources