Research Competencies in Architecture

Expected by NAAB

Excerpts from:

National Architectural Accrediting Board NAAB Conditions for Accreditation for Professional Degree Programs in Architecture 2004.

3. The Thirteen Conditions of Accreditation

3.1.4 Architectural Education and the Profession

3.13 Student Performance Criteria

Appendix B. Guidelines for Writing the Information Resources Assessment


To gain and retain accreditation of its degree progam, each institution must both develop a program specific to its mission and also educate students to be knowledgeable and capable of producing work that can be measured by, and satisfy, specific performance criteria.

Educational institutions are composed of a faculty responsible for the appropriate development of individual courses and curricula that are required, at a minimum, to provide each student the educational opportunity to meet the student performance criteria as defined by the NAAB.

The NAAB recognizes the institutional rights and responsibilities of the faculty to explore fundamental and innovative educational concepts, scholarship, research, methods, and technologies that exceed the minimum student performance criteria and that will lead to even higher standards of performance within the profession of architecture and related alternative careers of diverse and creative service to society.


3. The Thirteen Conditions of Accreditation

3.1.4 Architectural Education and the Profession

The accredited degree program must demonstrate how it prepares students to practice and assume new roles and responsibilities in a context of increasing cultural diversity, changing client and regulatory demands, and an expanding knowledge base. Given the program's particular mission, the APR may include an explanation of ... how students gain an awareness of the need to advance their knowledge of architecture through a lifetime of practice and research;


3.13 Student Performance Criteria

The accredited degree program must ensure that each graduate possesses the knowledge and skills defined by the criteria set out below. The knowledge and skills are the minimum for meeting the demands of an internship leading to registration for practice.

The school must provide evidence that its graduates have satisfied each criterion through required course work. If credits are granted for courses taken at other institutions, evidence must be provided that the courses are comparable to those offered in the accredited degree program. (11)

The NAAB establishes performance criteria to help accredited degree programs prepare students for the profession while encouraging educational practices suited to the individual degree program. In addition to assessing whether student performance meets the professional criteria, the visiting team will assess performance in relation to the school's stated curricular goals and content. While the NAAB stipulates the student performance criteria that must be met, it specifies neither the educational format nor the form of student work that may serve as evidence of having met these criteria. Programs are encouraged to develop unique learning and teaching strategies, methods, and materials to satisfy these criteria. The NAAB will consider innovative methods for satisfying the criteria, provided the school has a formal evaluation process for assessing student achievement of these criteria and documents the results.


For the purpose of accreditation, graduating students must demonstrate understanding or ability in the following areas:


1. Speaking and Writing Skills

Ability to read, write, listen, and speak effectively

2. Critical Thinking Skills

Ability to raise clear and precise questions, use abstract ideas to interpret information, consider diverse points of view, reach well-reasoned conclusions, and test them against relevant criteria and standards

4. Research Skills

Ability to gather, assess, record, and apply relevant information in architectural coursework

12. Human Behavior

Understanding of the theories and methods of inquiry that seek to clarify the relationship between human behavior and the physical environment

16. Program Preparation

Ability to prepare a comprehensive program for an architecture project, including assessment of client and user needs, a critical review of appropriate precedents, an inventory of space and equipment requirements, an analysis of site conditions, a review of the relevant laws and standards and assessment of their implication for the project, and a definition of site selection and design assessment criteria

33. Legal Responsibilities

Understanding of the architect's responsibility as determined by registration law, building codes and regulations, professional service contracts, zoning and subdivision ordinances, environmental regulation, historic preservation laws, and accessibility laws

34. Ethics and Professional Judgment

Understanding of the ethical issues involved in the formation of professional judgment in architectural design and practice

Appendix B. Guidelines for Writing the Information Resources Assessment


2. Information Literacy: Describe the instructional services provided by library and information staff (such as orientations, instruction in information skills and research methods, etc.). Are electronic information and bibliographic instruction services incorporated into the architecture curriculum?

N.B. Traditional bibliographic instruction by librarians does not encompass the learning experiences and learning outcomes assessments whereby students attain and demonstrate their competencies in research and information use. Assurance of students' information literacy is a curricular responsibility which cannot be deferred to the occasional on-demand instruction services offered by librarians.

Last modified February 28, 2007
by Boris Teske, Prescott Memorial Library,
Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, LA 71272