About ArtsEdSearch

Welcome to ArtsEdSearch, an online clearinghouse that collects and summarizes high quality research studies on the impacts of arts education and analyzes their implications for educational policy and practice.


ArtsEdSearch is a project of the Arts Education Partnership (AEP), and builds on Critical Links: Learning in the Arts and Student Academic and Social Development, a compendium of research that AEP published in 2002 exploring the impact of arts education on student success in school, life, and work. AEP has developed ArtsEdSearch as a resource for policymakers and education stakeholders and leaders to better understand and articulate the role that arts education can play in preparing students to succeed in the changing contexts of the 21st Century. ArtsEdSearch is designed to be an interactive, living resource that will grow and evolve along with arts and education research and practice. 

How ArtsEdSearch is Structured

The research in ArtsEdSearch can be explored through four different perspectives:

  • The outcomes of arts education for students;
  • The outcomes of incorporating arts into instruction for educators;
  • The outcomes of arts education that occurs during the school day (bell to bell); and
  • The outcomes of arts education that occurs out-of-school (during non-school hours).

For each of the perspectives above, you may choose to:

  • Read a research overview that explores what the combined research is telling us in that area;
  • Explore the research by age level to learn what we know about the impact of arts education when taught to students of particular ages from early childhood through to adulthood;
  • Investigate the policy implications of the research in ArtsEdSearch; and
  • Perform an advanced search to find studies that will be specific to your work.

What Is (and Is Not) Included in ArtsEdSearch

ArtsEdSearch currently includes summaries of over 200 research studies, syntheses of the major findings of these studies, and implications of the collected research for educational policy.

ArtsEdSearch focuses on research examining how education in the arts—in both discrete arts classes and integrated arts lessons—affects students’ cognitive, personal, social and civic development, as well as how the integration of the arts into the school curriculum affects educators’ instructional practice and engagement in the teaching profession.

ArtsEdSearch does not include research studies about how to teach the arts well or about how to assess student content knowledge and technical skill in the arts. These topics are of great importance to ensuring that students receive a high quality arts education and are the subject of other clearinghouses devoted to research on teaching and learning within particular arts disciplines.

ArtsEdSearch acknowledges that through arts education, students not only develop the technical capacity to create, perform, and respond to works of art, but also learn about and engage the arts as media for individual and collective expression, communication, connection, and for bringing into the world something that did not previously exist. The studies collected in ArtsEdSearch primarily examine outcomes of these and related facets of learning in and through the arts. Whether considered intrinsic to the arts or extrinsic to the arts, ArtsEdSearch acknowledges such outcomes as an important part of the enduring role that the arts play in schools and societies, and includes studies that explore their ramifications for student success in school, life, and work.

Development of ArtsEdSearch

The development of ArtsEdSearch was guided by a working group of experts in education research and policy and is supported by funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ford Foundation, the U. S. Department of Education, the Wallace Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. 

AEP staff and consultants, including teams of scholars across the country, identify research for inclusion in ArtsEdSearch through ongoing reviews of the existing research literature. To be included, all studies must meet a set of criteria for excellent research developed in consultation with the American Educational Research Association (AERA) and the American Evaluation Association (AEA). Studies meeting the criteria are summarized in a user-friendly manner, with jargon either replaced or clearly defined, so that all the research is accessible to a general audience. AEP staff and consultants develop implications for policy based on the collected research in collaboration with experts in arts and education policy.

To submit a study or learn more about the criteria for inclusion in ArtsEdSearch, please click here.