RESEARCH: ART WORKS: Application Review

The NEA's strategic plan identifies research as a mission-critical goal – specifically, “to promote public knowledge and understanding about the contribution of the arts." Through high-quality research, the NEA will expand opportunities for rigorous research that investigates the value of the U.S. arts ecosystem and the impact of the arts on other domains of American life. 

Applications that are complete and responsive to the funding announcement will be evaluated for artistic excellence and artistic merit (as defined below) by an appropriate advisory panel convened in accordance with "What Happens to Your Application" below. Incomplete and/or non-responsive applications or applications that do not follow the instructions given in this funding announcement will not be reviewed and will be deemed ineligible.

Review Criteria

Panelists will provide an impact score for artistic excellence and one for artistic merit that reflect their assessment of the likelihood for the project to exert a sustained, powerful influence on the field of arts research, in consideration of the following review criteria.

Panelists will consider each of the review criteria below. An application does not need to be strong in all areas to be judged likely to have a major impact.

The artistic excellence of the project, which includes the:

  • Clarity of the research plan, including the conceptual framework, research design, and analytical methods to be used, in addition to the relationship of these elements to the proposed research questions.
  • Overall rigor of the research plan, including the research design and analytical methods to be used.
  • Significance of the research questions in addressing and contributing to the existing literature in the field.
  • Novelty of the research questions, design, and analytical methods to be used.
  • Qualifications of the project personnel.

The artistic merit of the project, which includes the:

  • Potential of the project to achieve results consistent with the NEA outcome for Understanding: Evidence of the value and/or impact of the arts is expanded and promoted. This includes the potential to elevate the public profile of arts-related research by:
    • Increasing the diversity of fields of expertise that contribute to arts-related research.
    • Heightening the relevance of arts-related research to policy and practice.
  • Appropriateness of the proposed performance measurements and their ability to demonstrate that the NEA outcome was achieved.
  • Plans for timely reporting and dissemination of the project results, including distribution strategies to make the research findings accessible to the public.
  • Appropriateness of the data management plan. This includes the potential for raw- and/or meta-data to be shared with other researchers and the public, as applicable.
  • Ability to carry out the project based on the appropriateness of the budget and the resources involved.

Priority will be given to applications that present theory-driven research questions and methodologies that will yield important information about the value and/or impact of the arts. Competitive applications will take into account any extant research that serves as a basis for a theoretical framework, and helps motivate the proposed project.

What Happens to Your Application

All applications are reviewed by an advisory panel. Panel recommendations are forwarded to the National Council on the Arts, which then makes recommendations to the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. The Chairman reviews the Council's recommendations and makes the final decision on all grant awards. Pending the availability of funding, it is anticipated that applicants will be notified of award or rejection in April 2014.