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Josh Guetzkow

This chapter offers a critical appraisal of the vast literature examining the impact of the arts. The author begins by categorizing research according to the level of analysis (individual versus community), the degree of involvement (from direct to indirect), and the type of impact (material/economic, psychological/cultural, and interpersonal/social). He summarizes these different threads of research with a focus on assessing the claimed mechanisms by which arts is supposed to have these varied effects. He then points to a number of theoretical and methodological shortcomings with arts impact research and offers suggestions for improvement. Specifically, the author points to the often hazy definitions used for defining the scope of evaluation research, the problem of aggregation and issues related to selection bias, among other issues. He concludes with some suggestions for those seeking to evaluate the varied impact of arts programs.