A Study on PhD. Research in Architecture/Architectural Design in Turkey
Authors: Hakan ANAY, Ülkü ÖZTEN, Meltem ÖZTEN ANAY, Yiğit ACAR
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The study presents and opens into discussion the essential findings of a research that focuses on doctoral dissertations in the field of architecture/architectural design completed in the last 20 years (1995-2014), aim of which was expressed as ‘to provide a panorama of the state of doctoral research in the field of architecture/architectural design at the beginning of the 21st century.’ Beside the general information about the investigated 240 theses, with this respect, the findings coming from the ‘qualitative’ investigation of the issues coming out of the theses, like themes, content, material, methodology, sources, and relations with other fields were presented structurally, and were discussed and interpreted with reference to the context of the research. The findings show that the increase observed in doctoral studies was gathered around the circles/research traditions of so-called ‘core universities.’ On the other hand, it seems that it must be questioned what the increase in numbers (the quantity) brings us in the direction of ‘quality’, and if the definition and the content of the doctoral research was transforming from being a unique type of research, having its own specificities, into something being ‘just a stage in the career of an academic’ or not. Architecture/architectural design doctorates seem to address themes those could be embedded within both local and global contexts. With this respect, it was observed that topical issues such as ‘housing,’ or ‘urban problems’ that are towards the pragmatic/architectural practice attract more attention. Parallel to this, digital/computational design/architecture, a phenomenon that belongs to the present age, so popular and so much addressed that, it seems to be nearing to constitute almost an autonomous field in itself, and it seems to affect other ‘traditional’ themes in architecture such as architectural education. The research showed that doctorates conducted in the field of architecture relies on knowledge from other fields; with this respect, its relation especially with arts and social sciences and humanities has its own specificities and worth to mention. Doctorates seem to be nourished by two major resource pools, one local the other, global. With this respect, a problem in accessing global (first hand, original) sources was identified, and this issue was related with a lack of knowing a foreign language. It was argued that inability to access such sources might lead to problems in quality of research and lack in depth as well. One could mention a body of “local” sources written in Turkish, addressing local issues, and a body of doctoral research nourished by this framework and contributing back to it as well. On the other hand, such a framework, even considering the ‘translated texts’, seems to be addressing only a limited range of issues that seems to be falling short of demands, if one considers the epistemological “richness” of the field. Viewed as a whole, the present study turns the essential information about uninvestigated and ‘unworked,’ body of doctoral research to-the-date, into a “visible” entity, thus turn them into something that could be shared and discussed. With this respect, it is expected to help in understanding the research environment in doctoral studies in architecture and the basic characteristics that constitute this environment, and it is thought to be beneficial in developing strategies towards solving the problems it posed, as a resource in planning, renewing and orienting doctoral programs/education both in the scale of institutions and the country, and finally as a departure point, a foundation for the follow-up research.