Evaluating Quality in Artistic Research

Michael Biggs, Henrik Karlsson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this chapter is to consider the issues arising from the context of evaluation that is current in academic research. Most countries either have introduced, or are introducing, national-level performance evaluations of research in response to pressures for transparency and accountability in the use of public funds, and also in response to the drive to reduce unnecessary expense. We do not see these evaluations as being primarily driven by an interest in quality, although one outcome is increased conformity by the researchers to the norms and criteria used in the assessment, thereby increasing performance scores. Of course, such norm creation also occurs with respect to research council criteria, which become standards rather than targets owing to their instrumental role in determining assessment practices through the act of establishing criteria. The creative arts are potentially at a disadvantage in this context since their main modes of communication are non-traditional, leading to difficulties in the effective communication of their value and outcomes using traditional means. Therefore their value may not be recognized outside subject-specific funding agencies for the arts. Furthermore, the arts may be seen as essentially transgressive, and therefore their potential contribution risks being overlooked or marginalized in a normatized pan-disciplinary culture.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Companion to Research in the Arts
EditorsMichael Biggs, Henrik Karlsson
Place of PublicationLondon
ISBN (Print)978-0415581691
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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