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Architectural research and disciplinarity

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 July 2005

Jane Rendell
The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, 22 Gordon Street, London WC1H OQB, UK,
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There are at present considerable concerns with how architectural research will be assessed in the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) of 2008. In RAE 2001, most architectural research was submitted to one of three Units of Assessment (UoA): 33 Built Environment, 60 History of Art, Architecture and Design, and 64 Art and Design. There were subtle, but important, differences in output definition and assessment criteria between UoA 33 and UoA 64 with respect to practice-led research. Most importantly, in UoA 33 practice-led outputs were accepted by the panel, but only as publications, whereas UoA 64 assessed practice-led research outputs accompanied by a 300-word statement that clarified the contributions of that particular research to the development of original knowledge in the field. The diversity of methods and complexity of output types, combined with the composition of UoA 33, led to results that many feel did not properly reflect the strengths of architectural design, particularly practice-led research. This methodology essentially disenfranchised a significant part of the community from the rae process to the detriment not only of the community, but to the credibility of the process itself.

© 2004 Cambridge University Press