Architectural Research Methods

Course Code :2027FOWARC
Study domain:Architecture
Academic year:2017-2018
Semester:1st semester
Contact hours:56
Credits:6
Study load (hours):168
Contract restrictions: Exam contract not possible
Language of instruction:English
Exam period:exam in the 1st semester
Lecturer(s)Johan De Walsche
Nathalie Vallet

3. Course contents *

The course consists of a theoretical and a practical part. The theoretical part consists of a concise contextualisation of the notions architectural and design research, and aims at developing insights in ontological and epistemological aspects of research – particularly architectural research – emphasizing their coherence with methods and techniques. Students gain insight into the different ways of knowing, different methods of acquiring knowledge and conceptions about research. This serves as a basis to explore disciplinary specificity, research approaches, and paradigms, as well as multi- and transdisciplinarity.

Parallel to this philosophical-theoretical part, students develop a research design. This is done in groups of about 4 students. From their personal profile, affinities, interests and ambitions, the students negotiate a potential research theme for the group. Within this theme, they identify a more specific topic, and formulate a spatial/qualitative research question, and/or  a sharp research focus. The endeavour is contextualised, and a research strategy is designed. Induced by a series of imposed techniques, they explore coherence between technique and nature of empirical evidence, revealed through the technique. This leads to an inductive process of gradual development of a research design, theoretical or design based. The students develop insights in quality aspects of qualitative and design research. The teacher is not only a teacher or a designer, but takes – with the student group – the stance of a researcher and acts as a role model concerning a research disposition and a critical attitude.

The course is flanked by lectures from the teachers and/or fellow researchers’ own research expertise, witnessing of their own process of inquiry, conceptualization and dissemination.