Research Methods

Instructor:
Anirban Adhya
Summer 2012

Course Description:
Intensive study and application of research methodologies used for academic, theoretical, and design practice. The course included historical and current methods of research in behavioral sciences, building sciences, and environmental design. The course utilized computer applications and engages case studies in design research. Sources of research included those utilized in educational, governmental, professional, and legal environments.

Course Objectives:
Examination of how research is used in the architectural field
Development of research concepts
Understand research proposals
Examine methods typically applied in architectural research
Read and evaluate architectural research
Systematically search the relevant literature to support a research or thesis topic
Disseminate research results in written, verbal and multi-media formats

Reading List:
Architecture Research Methods by Linda Groat and David Wang

Research Assignment:
Cross-Disciplinary Studios in Architectural Education

Course Reflection:
The Research Methods course was intended to familiarize students with research methods and the research process. The instructor helped guide each individual student through a small research study. Students offered feedback to each other through online discussion forums. Each lecture and assignment was treated as a building block for the final research poster.

Due to my interest in architectural education and its curriculum, I chose to research the implementation of cross-disciplinary studios. The building industry, along with our computer software, is becoming increasing integrated. This makes me believe students should have experience working in a multi-disciplined team before they graduate college. The first step was to formulate specific questions that would guide our research. Then I drafted a concept paper and literature review that clearly defined my objective and the various literature/media I planned on using for my research. From the text and lectures, we were exposed to several research methodologies, but each student had to select the methods that were appropriate to his/her topic. I selected case study research and a survey questionnaire as my research methods. I researched several architectural colleges that have already tested cross-disciplinary studios. The goal of my survey was to establish in what academic level a cross-disciplinary studio should fall within the curriculum. My results confirmed by assumption that professionals, educators, and students believe that exposing students to a cross-disciplinary studio would be beneficial. The final submission for this class was a comprehensive poster that outlined our research process from concept to results.

For the graduate curriculum, it probably would have been more helpful to have experienced this course prior to the design studios. I took it during the back-half of my graduate school journey so it did not have a chance to impact the way that I research. I think this course would be more valuable if I planned on embarking on a significant research study in the future, such as a dissertation. From my experience, most “production” type firms do not have disciplined research as part of their design process for each project. It is certainly a course catered more toward the academic and theoretical aspects of architecture, than it is for a typical architectural practice.

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