A Critical Mapping of Practice-Based Research as Evidenced by Swedish Architectural Theses
This article presents an investigation that was funded by the Swedish Institute into the role of creative practice in architectural research as evidenced in Swedish doctoral theses. The sample was mapped and analysed in terms of clusters of interest, approaches, cultures of knowledge and uses of creative practice. This allowed the identification of the ontological, epistemological and methodological attitudes of the researchers, and hence a glimpse of their implicit worldview. The authors claim that the relationship between worldview and research actions in emerging areas of research such as architecture is often under-scrutinised, resulting in a disjunction between aims and strategies for action. Architectural research in which creative practices make an essential contribution to the aims, might represent something new in academic research. The investigators therefore focused on identifying cases in which creative practice was or was claimed to be integrated in an essential way into the research process. There were two principal conclusions. The first was that the mere presence of practice was not necessarily an indicator of so-called arts-based research. The second was that cases of arts-based research that could be regarded as a new paradigm as opposed to a variant of existing paradigms are less common than is claimed by the researchers themselves. As a result, this article makes a contribution to the debate on whether so-called practice-based research should be regarded as a distinct new paradigm.