“It is important to make a clear distinction between practice-based research and pure practice. Many practitioners would say they do ‘research’ as a necessary part of their everyday practice. As the published records of the creative practitioners demonstrate, searching for new understandings and seeking out new techniques for realising ideas is a substantial part of everyday practice. However, this kind of research is, for the most part, directed towards the individual’s particular goals of the time rather than seeking to add to our shared store of knowledge in a more general sense […] (P)ractice-based research aims to generate culturally novel apprehensions that are not just novel to the creator or individual observers of an artefact; and it is this that distinguishes the researcher from the practitioner. “ Linda Candy

Linda Candy (AU/UK) identifies:

 - If a creative artefact is the basis of the contribution to knowledge, the research is practice-based. 

 - If the research leads primarily to new understandings about practice, it is practice-led.


 However, Robin Nelson (UK) states: 

“Practice – based research is also used by some to indicate what I understand by Practice as Research. But I reserve this last term for research which draws from, or is about, practice but which is articulated in traditional word – based forms (books or articles).”  Robin Nelson, Practice as Research in the Arts: Principles, Protocols, Pedagogies, Resistances, 2013


“The term ‘practice-based’ is frequently used as an umbrella term for academic research which incorporates artistic practice as a ‘research methodology’, [Ken] Friedman criticises this method because he believes that many designers confuse practice with research.” Wilson, Mick, and Schelte van Ruiten, eds. SHARE handbook for artistic research education. ELIA European League of Institutes of the Arts, 2013.


Practice-based Research is an original investigation undertaken in order to gain new knowledge partly by means of practice and the outcomes of that practice. In a doctoral thesis, claims of originality and contribution to knowledge may be demonstrated through creative outcomes in the form of designs, music, digital media, performances and exhibitions. Whilst the significance and context of the claims are described in words, a full understanding can only be obtained with direct reference to the outcomes.


Drawn from ‘Art as Research’ section of James Bulley & Özden Şahin (eds.) Practice Research - Report 1: What is practice research? and Report 2: How can practice research be shared?. (London: PRAG-UK, 2021);  from Linda Candy, "Practice based research: A guide." (2006) and and Mick Wilson and Schelte van Ruiten, eds. SHARE handbook for artistic research education. ELIA European League of Institutes of the Arts, 2013 



The Routledge International Handbook of Practice-Based Research, Edited By Craig Vear, Linda Candy, Ernest Edmonds, (2021)

Linda Candy, "Practice based research: A guide." CCS report 1.2 (2006). 

PDF link: Here