Multi-method examination of landscape studio problem-solving pedagogy as scholarly work on teaching and learning literature
Payne Tofte, Elizabeth
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This study examined how the landscape studio has supported scholarly problem-solving pedagogy. Examination was limited to studio-educators’ published pedagogical research on problem-solving topics and on landscape architecture students’ preferences for solving studio-based problems. A unique multi-method research approach was used to assess the scholarly rigor and breadth of 467 academic articles published between 1997 and 2008 in Landscape Journal, Landscape Research, and Landscape Review. Scholarly rigor was assessed using Boyer’s model of scholarship, Cross and Steadman’s multiple scholarships of teaching, Weimer’s scholarly work on teaching and learning, and Groat and Wang’s architectural research methods. Content analysis was used to catalogue the breadth of problem-solving tools, techniques and theories mentioned in the articles. Research questionnaires, one-on-one interviews, focus groups and formal project presentations surveyed students’ problem-solving preferences. Seventy-eight first and final year students at Edinburgh College of Art, Scotland and Washington State University, United States participated. Data were tested to determine whether what studio-educators claimed in the articles were supported by landscape students’ preferences for solving studio-based problems. Results found 56 articles possessed characteristics of scholarly work on teaching and learning and advanced problem-solving knowledge. Twenty-two different problem-solving tools, techniques or theories were mentioned in the articles. Students independently reported a preference for using 20 of the 22 problem-solving approaches. Strongly shared approaches involved cultural awareness and site visits. Approaches recommended by educator-authors, but not preferred by students, involved the environment, teamwork and innovation. Further research may be needed to explain these differences. In conclusion, the landscape studio has supported scholarly problem-solving pedagogy through studio-educators’ pedagogical research published in discipline-based journals and students’ preferences for solving studio-based problems. This study is significant in its use of multi-method approaches to examine scholarly research and teaching. In the future, educator-authors may use information contained in this study to strengthen their teaching and scholarship.