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Home Improvements: Housing Research in Practice, Methodology and Data

Coucill, LS and Samuel, F (2013) Home Improvements: Housing Research in Practice, Methodology and Data. UNSPECIFIED. RIBA.

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Abstract

Home Improvements: Housing Research in Practice draws on data from three interconnected sources: • The RIBA Research Practice Survey; • A limited sample of targeted interviews; • Three research projects led by architectural practices in collaboration with architectural academia as part of the Home Improvements project. Between February and May 2013, an online survey was issued to chartered architectural practices. The survey was distributed via the RIBA bulletin on three occasions. The survey was distributed to the RIBA’s network of 24,000 individual members. The RIBA’s typical response rate for similar studies is 50-100 responses. The Home Improvements survey sits at the upper end of this rate, accumulating 83 responses. The survey comprised two sections. In the rst section we asked practitioners their views on research, concentrating on how they valued research and what opportunities they thought it had for developing their business. One of the fundamental questions asked practitioners to describe their own understanding of what research is. In particular, we were also interested in gauging whether practices needed assistance in conducting research, and if so, what should this consist of? The second part of the survey was speci cally aimed at practices working in the housing sector. With this our aim was to establish how, why and when practitioners were conducting research, thereby exposing which areas of housing they considered needed more attention. We were also interested in evaluating where practitioners looked for cutting edge knowledge in housing, and why these places were considered important. Secondly, a sample of semi-structured interviews was conducted. In addition to following up the responses of survey participants, these interviews speci cally targeted key housing design practices. Consequently, this included a range of practice sizes from solo practitioners to large practices, and from emerging practices to well established ones. In these interviews practitioners were invited to uncover research conventions in practice, and to identify innovative approaches and cutting edge knowledge. Because practices were selected for one or more of these factors the semi-structured approach allowed a exible thematic framework for all interviews.

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