Question-Based Research: Interdisciplinary Studies in Architecture and the Humanities

Document Type : Original


1 Associate Professor, Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning, Shahid Beheshti University

2 Professor, Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning, Shahid Beheshti University.

3 M.A., Iranian Architecture Studies, Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning, Shahid Beheshti University

4 Ph.D., Architecture, Faulty of Architecture and Urban Planning, Shahid Beheshti University

5 Ph.D. candidate, Architecture, Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning, Shahid Beheshti University

6 Ph.D. candidate, Human Geography, Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany

7 M.Sc., Space Syntax, University College London, England


Although the research process in many architectural topics involves approaches and methods used in the social sciences and humanities, advancing through the architectural research process by the application of these approaches and methods has been poorly studied. This article aims to define question-based research in architecture and introduce its scope, types, and processes. It is an interdisciplinary research in which the research strategies of the social sciences and humanities are applied. This article employs the classification strategy to study and analyze a selection of doctoral dissertations in architecture from worldwide top-ranked universities. The results demonstrate that question-based research advances by developing a question rather than hypothesizing, i.e., asking about a contemporary or historical phenomenon or a relatively unknown or disorganized body of knowledge that is obscure to the researcher. There are three types of question-based research topics in terms of the researcher’s relation to the questioned phenomenon: a topic relating to the past requiring examining historical data; a contemporary problem requiring data analysis from field research; or an architectural topic requiring investigation of both historical and modern conditions. The results of question-based research are mostly in the form of an extensive description or a coherent narrative.


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