Arts-based research can be understood as a counterpart to scientific research. In an international context, sometimes also the concept of “artistic research” is used, juxtaposed to the concept of “scientific research”.
Arts-based research focuses in particular on the gain of knowledge and on the development of methods. This concept differs basically from academic disciplines such as literature, history of art, and musicology which research into the arts with scientific methods. Arts-based research uses artistic methods which interact between artistic work and its reflection. Therefore, it primarily stands for the production of knowledge supported by diversity of methods.
One aspect of arts-based research reflects the pursuit of new forms of art, ways of artistic expression and methods which frequently become evident in close cooperation with scientific research or its applications.
While another aspect of arts-based research stands for the “creation” of works of art and for making them perceivable through reflected interpretation of an artist.
The results of arts-based research on university level must be sustainable and must be made available for an artistic discourse and for scientific research. In contrast to conventional artistic work whose primary aim is to produce works of art, the focus is extended here by the intersubjectively usable documentation of a reflecting process. The Subscriptions of the University of Music and performing Arts Graz allow also non-university members to share arts-based research activities. In autumn 2009, doctoral studies have been introduced which allow graduating from artistic doctoral studies as “Dr. artium”, and which will drive these possibilities forward. In order to facilitate the search of literature, employees of the university and students have campus-wide free use of the web-based literature administration program RefWorks.