RESEARCH: ART WORKS: Other Requirements and Priorities

Research Partnerships

We are committed to supporting research teams that demonstrate interdisciplinary partnerships between arts practitioners and researchers/evaluators. Although not required, applicants are strongly encouraged to include project teams of arts practitioners and researchers/evaluators. If applicants do not already have research staff in their organization, then they are encouraged to form collaborations with other organizations, entities, or individuals who will be able to support the technical requirements of the research project.

Responsible Conduct of Research

We are committed to the responsible conduct of research. As such, the agency requires applicants to comply with all applicable laws and regulations governing the conduct of research in the United States. We further require applicants to obtain permissions from all appropriate entities for conducting the proposed project and to include evidence of such permissions in the application material. These may include, but are not limited to, approval from Institutional Review Boards (IRBs), and/or data licensing for the acquisition of existing data, as may be required. 

Data collection activities conducted under an award are the sole responsibility of the recipient organization, and the National Endowment for the Arts’ support of the project does not constitute approval of those data collection procedures. As such, data collected from respondents/participants will be conducted by the grantee or at the grantee’s direction, and any NEA-funded researchers collecting data from respondents/participants may not represent to those subjects that such data are being collected on behalf of the NEA.

Applicants who propose primary data collection as part of their projects are required to show evidence of federally-sponsored ethics training in the conduct of human subjects research, including such aspects as the role of IRBs. Evidence can take the form of a certificate of completion of a training module from the National Institutes of Health (see Protecting Human Research Participants, a free module that takes approximately 1 hour to complete), the Department of Defense, or from another U.S. federal agency or department. Training evidence must be submitted at the time of application for all key personnel involved with human research subjects and/or human subjects data.

In addition, applicants who include primary data collection as a proposed project activity are required to provide documentation showing whether IRB approval is needed to execute the project. If the documentation states that IRB approval is required, then applicants also must indicate the measures they have taken or plan on taking to gain IRB approval. If multiple organizations are directly involved in human subjects research for a proposed project, then the applicant must provide documentation from those organizations as well. If your institution or organization does not already have an IRB, we encourage you to partner and/or consult with another institution or organization that does to determine whether IRB approval is necessary for your project. Costs of submitting research proposals to IRBs are allowable if this activity takes place during the grant period; however, the application proposal must include evidence that the applicant has consulted with their preferred IRB or IRBs. If you receive a grant, we may withhold funds until IRB approval is demonstrated.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides additional guidance and resources for learning about the responsible conduct of research, including a database of registered IRBs; the National Science Foundation also has resources related to IRB and human subjects protections.

Research about Arts Education

Through a partnership with the U.S. Department of Education, the NEA supports the Arts Education Partnership, which has launched an online clearinghouse of more than 200 studies of student and educator outcomes associated with arts education in both in-school and out-of-school settings. If you are interested in submitting a proposal to investigate some aspect of arts education or related variables and outcomes, you are encouraged to explore ArtsEdSearch for summaries of previous studies, criteria for inclusion in the ArtsEdSearch database, discussion of policy implications, and suggested areas for future research. See here for a recent webinar on ArtsEdSearch. In addition, you are encouraged to explore the Department of Education’s What Works Clearinghouse’s Handbook for more information about evidence-based research study designs, such as randomized control trials and quasi-experimental research design studies in education.

Data Management and Sharing

We intend primarily for the Research: Art Works category to generate new findings that will inform the public about the value and/or impact of the arts in American life. To help build capacity and continuity for such research in subsequent years, we require applicants to submit a data management plan documenting how any raw data and meta-data resulting from the proposed project will be maintained during and beyond the life of the grant. Applicants should discuss the HIPAA Privacy Rule, de-identification of personally identifiable information, and IRB status as appropriate.

Costs of storing and/or sharing data are allowable if these data management activities take place during the grant period.

National Archive of Data on Arts and Culture (NADAC)

The National Archive of Data on Arts and Culture (NADAC) is a repository that facilitates research on arts and culture by acquiring and archiving data, particularly those funded by federal agencies and other public organizations, and making the data and a variety of data tools freely available to researchers, policymakers, arts and cultural practitioners, and the general public.

Contact to learn about opportunities for Research: Art Works grantees to deposit their raw- and meta-data in the archive.