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Which clippings match 'Practice-based' keyword pg.1 of 2
19 MAY 2014

Defining features of practice-based and practice-led research

"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. Claims of originality and contribution to knowledge may be demonstrated through creative outcomes which may include artefacts such as images, music, designs, models, digital media or other outcomes such as 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 those outcomes. A practice-based PhD is distinguishable from a conventional PhD because creative outcomes from the research process may be included in the submission for examination and the claim for an original contribution to the field are held to be demonstrated through the original creative work.

Practice-based doctoral submissions must include a substantial contextualisation of the creative work. This critical appraisal or analysis not only clarifies the basis of the claim for the originality and location of the original work, it also provides the basis for a judgement as to whether general scholarly requirements are met. This could be defined as judgement of the submission as a contribution to knowledge in the field, showing doctoral level powers of analysis and mastery of existing contextual knowledge, in a form that is accessible to and auditable by knowledgeable peers.

Practice-led Research is concerned with the nature of practice and leads to new knowledge that has operational significance for that practice. The main focus of the research is to advance knowledge about practice, or to advance knowledge within practice. In a doctoral thesis, the results of practice-led research may be fully described in text form without the inclusion of a creative outcome. 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 and often falls within the general area of action research. The doctoral theses that emerge from this type of practice related research are not the same as those that include artefacts and works as part of the submission."

(Creativity and Cognition Studios, University of Technology Sydney)


action research • advance knowledge about practice • advance knowledge within practice • central practice element • contextual knowledge • contribution to knowledge • contribution to knowledge in the field • conventional PhD • creative artefact • creative artefacts • creative outcome • creative outcomes • creative work contextualisation • Creativity and Cognition Studios (CCS)critical analysis • critical appraisal • digital media practice • doctoral level analysis • doctoral submission • doctoral theses • doctoral thesis • exegesis • knowledge about practice • knowledgeable peers • mastery • nature of practice • new knowledge • new knowledge by means of practice • new understandings about practice • operational significance for that practice • original contribution to the field • original creative work • original investigation • original work • originalitypractice-basedpractice-based PhDspractice-based researchpractice-ledpractice-led researchresearch processresearch scholarship • research types • scholarly requirements • submission for examination • types of research • University of Technology Sydney


Simon Perkins
13 JANUARY 2012

Training for Practice-Based Research: Adaptation, Integration and Diversity

"Our study was concerned with adapting existing research methods courses to accommodate practice–based research training rather than creating new programmes. Lest we are tempted to develop courses customised exclusively for practice–based research students it is worth noting that practice–based research does not present as a unified mode of studying for a PhD. There are differences between and within subject areas, different modes of study, and there are different outcomes. In the case of PhDs by Composition at the University of Edinburgh, the outcome to be examined is a portfolio of compositions suitable for presentation as a concert programme. No written component is required, other than musical notation and programme notes. ECA defines practice–based research as 'the exploration of a subject of enquiry through practical work accompanied by a related text' (ECA Grad School Student Handbook 2005–2006). The usual model at ECA is for a series of artworks or designs in conjunction with a thesis text, which may take the form of documentation, rationale, justification, position–statement or critique.

As mentioned, the strong assertion for practice–based research is that it is no different than any other kind of research, or, at least, it is as different from the rest as they are from each other. Our trial research methods course included students of archaeology, architecture, landscape architecture, history of art, visual and cultural studies, sound design, history of music, furniture design, fine art, sculpture, drawing and painting, and architecture by design. In fact student feedback singled out archaeology and laboratory–based research into architectural structures as having the least support from the course. Practice–based students also found the course content less than satisfactory to their needs, but personal attention from the art–practice researcher/tutor seemed to ameliorate such deficits, and certain lectures would at least make mention of practice–based research, even if to indicate that it may be an exception to the case under discussion. The importance of this basic level of recognition applies equally to transferable skills training. Practitioners singled out time management, scheduling and planning as crucial in the context of exhibitions and performances, involving the management of a range of conflicting variables.

We conclude that acknowledgement of practice–based research, along with every other mode of research represented in the class, is the least that can be expected in a research methods course. The minimum provision is for intellectual space for practice–based students to give voice to the issues that affect them, and an invitation to discuss the relevance of the material presented in lectures. A further level of engagement involves exposure to personnel who have an investment in the mode of research under discussion, even if that mode of research is not incorporated into the curriculum.

But practice–based research students drew attention to the need for formal practitioner input as vital in delivering insights into ways of working, particularly from those who have already gained PhDs through this mode of study. Practitioner input is to be included within the portfolio of expertise that includes historians, archivists, musicologists, technical experts and information specialists.

Whereas it is desirable to inject yet more course content to accommodate the different groups in a student cohort, this recommendation raises the issue of how to do so in the context of a diverse student cohort. Students from all areas reported their appreciation of the chance to study with students from different backgrounds and in different disciplines. Disciplines can be sufficiently different, but with common threads. In the course under study these threads were highlighted in discussions and at the student conference that culminated the course. Learning through a recognition of difference was also emphasized in the course documentation and some of the lectures and exercises. Difference, provocation and appropriation are major stimuli to creative production and can be exploited in a research methods course that supports a diverse range of students. This is abetted by an ethos of openness and conviviality within the course, identifying possible linkages, and teaching staff being open in discussion contexts. A diversity of research methods delivery is a seam to be mined in the case of practice–based research. In this, the potential eclecticism of practice–based research can provide a model for other modes of research, expanding the idea of what a PhD is or can be.

None–the–less in our trial course the issue of relevance surfaced frequently. The plan had been to deliver course material of general relevance in a lecture format, open the session to discussion and then provide break–out groups organized along disciplinary lines. In practice, the break–out groups proved too informally constituted to fulfill this purpose, and by this stage in any session the lecturers' and students' appetites for further delivery was diminished. Students wanted to discuss, often across disciplinary lines and according to other than disciplinary configurations. The discussions were regarded as extremely valuable, but not in addressing specific disciplinary needs. There is a need for some classes at least that specifically address practice–based research issues.

We conclude that there is value in providing at least one lecture/session on the problematics of research from a practice–based perspective, and involving practitioners. This discussion can also be highly relevant to humanities students whose interest in research may be more eclectic that students in disciplines with a scientific or empirical orientation. Rather than remove practice–based research students from the cohort for special attention, the alternative is to identify students from science–based disciplines, or those working with strictly prescribed methodologies, for alternative instruction. Practice–based students reported their desire to participate in debate and discussion with interested students beyond their own fields.

In summary, practice–based research students benefit from working in a diverse context and do not necessarily require their own course. In fact practitioners reported that there are benefits in being exposed to a variety of different approaches which may shed new light on their research, and the opportunity to make interdisciplinary connections. Nor did students demand their own course, just the recognition of the issues that affected their candidature, the introduction of certain themes pertinent to their modes of research, and exposure to experienced practitioners."

(Richard Coyne and Jenny Triggs, 2007)


art-practice researchercurriculum design • ECA • exegesis • experienced practitioners • exploration of a subject of enquiry • insights into ways of working • Jenny Triggs • modes of research • modes of study • musical notationPhDposition-statement • practical work • practice-basedpractice-based research • practice-based research students • practice-based research training courses • practitionersrationaleresearchresearch methods • research methods course • research trainingRichard Coyne • thesis text • transferable skills • University of Edinburghwritten component


Simon Perkins

Social Sciences Arts and Humanities Research Institute: research into practice

"Art and Design, History of Art, Architecture and Design, Drama, Dance and Performing Arts, Communication, Cultural and Media Studies, Music"

(University of Hertfordshire, School of Creative Arts)



applied researchart and designartistic practicearts and humanitiescreative practicecritical theory • fine art practices • Hertfordshirejournalmakers of thingspractice as research • practice-as • practice-basedpractice-ledpractitionerproduction of knowledge • propositional knowledge • research • research cluster • research groups • research into practice • role of the university • scholarshipSchool of Creative Artssocial sciences • SSAHRI • studio-based • studio-led • theory building • UH journals • University of Hertfordshirevisual artsWorking Papers in Art and Design • Working Papers on Design


Simon Perkins

Unistats: UK university comparison site

"Unistats lets you search, review and compare official information about universities and colleges in the UK, and the subjects they offer. It includes results from the National Student Survey–where more than 220,000 students give their views about the quality of their higher education experience. ...

HEFCE (the Higher Education Funding Council for England)¹ owns the Unistats websites and has contracted UCAS to manage the delivery and maintenance of these websites on its behalf."

(Unistats, UK)



accountability • admissions service • best practicecollegescomparison siteconservatoire • Conservatoires UK Admissions Service • DEL • Department for Employment and Learningeducationeducation sectorgood practiceGraduate Teacher Training RegistryHEFCEHEFCW • high quality • higher educationHigher Education Funding Council for EnglandHigher Education Funding Council for Walesinformationknowledge territorialisationlegitimate scholarly practices • localised learning requirements • metricsNational Student Survey • Northern Ireland and the Scottish Funding Council • NSS • postgraduate certificate • practice-basedpublic money • quality of experience • research metrics • reviews • SFC • student viewsstudentsUCASUKUK Postgraduate Application and Statistical ServiceUKPASSundergraduate • Unistats • universitiesuniversity admissionswebsite


Simon Perkins

Art & Research: an e-journal of artistic research and practice

"Art & Research is an artist–led, internationally peer–assessed open access e–journal of Research in Fine Art Practice, focused upon questions, contexts and methodologies of artistic research and practice. Art & Research aims to serve professional artists and academics, curators and critics, artistic researchers, postgraduate and doctoral research students and undergraduates, and to inform current pedagogical thought in a global context."

(Ross Birrell)

Fig.1. Dutton + Swindells, Studio Production, Ssamzie Art Space Studios, Seoul, February 2008. Courtesy of the artists.



academic journalacademicsapplied researchartArt and Research (journal) • artist-led • artistic practiceartistic research • artistic research and practice • artistic researchers • arts pedagogy • arts researcharts researchercreative practicecritical theorycuratordesign research • doctoral research students • e-journalfine art practicejournalmethodological contextmethodologiespedagogical thoughtpeer-reviewedPhD • postgraduate research students • practice-basedpractice-based researchpractice-ledprofessional artistsresearch • research in fine art practice • researcherundergraduate researchvisual communication


Simon Perkins

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