The paper seeks to unpick and examine a number of related claims for the role of the arts or, more specifically, the creative arts, in educational research. It considers and evaluates ways in which artistic creativity might itself be thought of as either based on research or itself a form of inquiry which might claim to be research. Such claims are entirely plausible, though they perhaps force artistic creativity into a particular mould that not all artists would appreciate. Artistic work may also constitute data conveying information about a particular setting or the events from which they were produced, signs and symbols for the observer or researcher to interpret. The claim that art might be used to represent educational practice, policy or experience receives the fullest treatment, and this requires consideration of both the general claim (which runs counter to the ambitions of many artists, choreographers and musicians) and more particular claims for, for example research‐based narrative fiction, which is treated somewhat sceptically.