Architectural research and its enemies
|Published in:||arq: Architectural Research Quarterly, March 2010, n. 1, v. 14|
Like the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) that preceded it, the UK government's proposed Research Excellence Framework (REF) is a means of allocating funding in higher education to support research. As with any method for the competitive allocation of funds it creates winners and losers and inevitably generates a lot of emotion among those rewarded or penalised. More specifically, the ‘winners’ tend to approve of the method of allocation and the ‘losers’ denigrate it as biased against their activities and generally unfair. An extraordinary press campaign has been consistently waged against research assessment and its methods by those involved in architectural education, which I will track over a decade and a half. What follows will question whether this campaign demonstrates the sophistication and superior judgment of those who have gone into print, or conversely whether its mixture of misinformation and disinformation reveals not just disenchantment and prejudice, but a naivety and a depth of ignorance about the fundamentals of research that is deeply damaging to the credibility of architecture as a research-based discipline. With the recent consultation process towards a new cycle of research assessment, the REF, getting under way, I aim to draw attention to the risk of repeating past mistakes.
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