Architecture Thesis Research Methods

This iterative research process is primarily qualitative in nature, with both research questions and the type of collected data subject to changes from one software implementation to the next.Moreover, the nature of results in this type of design-based research process is open-ended, as design processes cannot easily be predicted.Laurel (2003) emphasizes the synergy of both domains, while Downton (2003) argues that design can be a form of research and refers to the descriptions put forward by Archer (1981) and Frayling (1993) of three areas of investigation: “research for design”, “research about design” and “research through design”.

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This paper aims to inform those seeking to preserve the applied nature of designing and the involved nature of the observer/designer while pursuing a higher level of academic rigour.

Extended Abstract Action Research as a Research Method in Design-based Fields Design-based fields are strongly practice-oriented in that designing typically involves the inception and development of ideas as well as their manifestations.

Summary This paper discusses the use of action research as a research method in architecture and design.

It addresses the question of how academic work in the fields of architecture and design can pursue research through methods that are appropriate to the nature of design processes.

In particular in research-based degree programmes, this often means that academics as well as their Master or Ph D students choose to shift to research methods considered more formal and defensible.

Typically, such methods are taken from either the humanities or the sciences.

The case study is a Ph D thesis in architecture written by the author.

Case Study: An Action Research Thesis in Architecture The positions outlined above indicate the importance of both design and research in the field of architecture as well as their complementary nature.

Acting (making) thus goes hand in hand with reflection in design processes.

In contrast to many other fields, studying design is always linked to practicing design – designing cannot be learned from books and without applied practice.


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