Artistic research output struggles for recognition as 'legitimate' research within the highly-competitive and often traditional university sector. Often recognition requires the underpinning processes and thinking to be documented in a traditional written format. This article discusses the views of eight arts practitioners working in academia by asking whether or not they view their arts practice as research and, if they do, how it is so. The findings illuminate ways in which artistic practice is understood as research and reveal how the process of analytical and reflective writing impacts artist academics, their artistic and academic identities and their environment. The findings suggest a frame within which to advocate the equivalence of artistic research with traditional scholarly research. They also suggest a rationale for arguing against this, focusing instead (or perhaps as well) on a wider understanding of what constitutes knowledge. This has implications for academics, for students and for universities in recognizing the research inherent within arts practice itself, and in recognizing the value of practice-led writing in understanding and communicating new knowledge, new methods, and new definitions of research.