Evaluation research and inquiry based learning (IBL) in architecture and urbanism : consumption versus production of knowledge

Salama, Ashraf M; Mallory-Hill, Shauna and Preiser, Wolfgang and Watson, Chris, eds. (2012) Evaluation research and inquiry based learning (IBL) in architecture and urbanism : consumption versus production of knowledge. In: Enhancing Building Performance. John Wiley & Sons Inc., pp. 277-284. ISBN 978-0-470-65759-1

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Discourses in architectural and urban education corroborate that a university’s mission should advance a learning environment that cultivates exploration and critical thinking. Today, inquiry and investigation are viewed as activities central to architectural and urbanism pedagogy, presenting new opportunities for academics to strengthen undergraduate courses, to enhance their role in shaping education in architecture, and to improve the overall quality of pedagogy. Over the past two decades however, influential literature was introduced to the academic community in architecture (UIA-UNESCO Charter, 1996; Boyer and Mitgang, 1996) indicating that architectural education does not take full advantage of the unique opportunities available in higher education institutions. Links between education, professional practice, and academic research are often oversimplified. Opportunities to enrich and strengthen professional education through exposure to research processes are missed. This chapter underscores the value of evaluation research, as a form of inquiry based learning (IBL). It argues for exposing students to primary source materials and for educating them about the production of knowledge. This is proposed in order to complement traditional teaching practices that emphasize secondary sources information and the consumption of knowledge by offering students ready-made interpretations. Primary sources enable students to get as close as possible to what actually happened, or is happening during a historical event or time period. Evaluation research is an important paradigm which would invigorate the capabilities of future architects to be more culturally and environmentally responsive, critical thinkers, and engage in the production of knowledge.