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“The term practice-led research and its affiliates (practice-based research, practice as research) are employed to make two arguments about practice which are often overlapping and interlinked: firstly, the creative work in itself is a form of research and generates detectable research outputs; secondly, to suggest that creative practice – the training and specialised knowledge that creative practitioners have and the processes they engage in when they are making art – can lead to specialised research insights which can then be generalised and written up as a research. The first argument emphasises the creative practice in itself, while the second highlights the insights, conceptualisation and theorisation which can arise when artists reflect on and document their own creative practice”, Hazel Smith and Roger T. Dean, Practice-led Research, Research led Practice in the Creative Arts, 2009, p. 5.

 

“In using the term practice-led research, we … are referring both to the work of art as a form of research and to the creation of the work as generating insights that might then be documented, theorised and generalised,” Hazel Smith and Roger T. Dean, Practice-led Research, Research led Practice in the Creative Arts, 2009, p. 5.

 

 “in practice-based research the creative works acts as a form of research, whereas practice-led research is about practice leading to research insights” Linda Candy, Practice Based Research: A Guide, 2006.

 

“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, Practice Based Research: A Guide, 2006.

Practice-led research is a conceptual framework that allows a researcher to incorporate their creative practice, creative methods and creative output into the research design and as a part of the research output […] (It is) an approach that incorporates creative practices into the research process, legitimises the knowledge they reveal and endorses the methodologies, methods and research tools that are characteristic of that discipline.


Whilst the term practice-led research is often used interchangeably with practice-based research and also with research-led practice, there is some distinction. Whereas the creative artefact is the basis of the contribution to knowledge for practice-based research, practice-led leads primarily to new understandings about practice - it is concerned with the nature of practice and leads to new knowledge that has operational significance for that practice. The primary focus of the research is to advance knowledge about practice, or to advance knowledge within practice. Such research includes practice as an integral part of its method; however, the results of practice-led research may be fully described in text form without the inclusion of a creative work. "If the research leads primarily to new understandings about practice, it is practice-led" (Candy, 2006). Research-led practice is used to refer to when scholarly research leads to creative work.

 

1. Aspects drawn from https://praguk.wordpress.com/glossary-of-terms/methodology/ and from Linda Candy, Practice Based Research: A Guide, 2006.

PRACTICE-LED RESEARCH

Bibliography/links


Hazel Smith and Roger T. Dean, Practice-led Research, Research led Practice in the Creative Arts, (Edinburgh University Press, 2009).

 

Linda Candy, Practice Based Research: A Guide, 2006.