Close-up design alphabet

Design education research

Explore our work in design education, one of our 8 areas of expertise in Architecture, Interiors and Urbanism

Recent shifts in higher education towards research-based teaching mean that new reflective methods for evaluating the effectiveness of teaching are needed – including modes of evaluation that can capture the holistic nature of education.

We research issues related to teaching and learning within creative and design disciplines, focusing on pedagogy, curriculum, student engagement, and learning theories. We are working to improve measures, such as learning outcomes, student satisfaction and employability.

Our research is providing new perspectives and data for those teaching in creative fields at the higher education level. The main target is educators, but some of the work is targeted toward design professionals or students.

Our research covers

  • studio pedagogy
  • work-based learning
  • experiential learning
  • live projects
  • professional development
  • student experience
  • creativity
  • feedback and assessment

Research varies between quantitative and qualitative methods, including narrative, graphic, as well as more conventional educational research methods, such as focus groups, interviews, and questionnaires.

Through the Department of Curriculum Quality and Enhancement, and the Higher Education Forum, we provide access to a network of interdisciplinary researchers from across the University community.


Recent full-length books include Narratives of Architectural Education and Retail Design. More than a dozen recent journal articles and practitioner booklets tend to derive from practice-based or action research projects.


Recent coverage of our work and research includes:

  • Association of Architectural Educators Conference
  • Interior Educators Journal
  • Association of Higher Education Journal
  • Higher Education Advances Conference


Recent funders include the University of Portsmouth’s Teaching and Learning Innovation Fund.

Discover our areas of expertise

Design education is one of our 8 areas of research expertise in Architecture, Interiors and Urbanism – explore the other 7 below.

Green infrastructures

We're planning cities that can be both liveable for humans, while not resulting in further decline to the planet's ecological vitality.

A view of Portsmouth from Catherine House looking towards Spinnaker Tower
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Historic environments and conservation

We're looking at how architecture, community and creative technologies can play a role in enhancing historic environments.

Exterior of a historic building with statues and Corinthian columns
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Interior design theory and practice

We're investigating how architects and designers might rethink the way they approach interior spaces, by exploring how buildings are used by people.

Retro Chair, Bike and Cabinet
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Sustainable urbanism

We're exploring the models, technology and policies that can guide governments and planners to develop sustainable cities.

Sustainable housing at Priddy's Hard, Gosport
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Digital design and new technologies

We're studying the integration of digital technology and new technologies in architectural planning, urban planning, and sustainability – and how they can impact future design processes.

3d printer model of a new building and city
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Environmental analysis and design

Through our research, we're re-thinking the way we build cities, to better react to environmental issues and challenges, such as climate change.

Skyscraper with plants growing up the facade, Sydney
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Research groups

Architectural and Urban History and Theory Research Group

We're researching narratives of place and the construction of new historiographical and theoretical discourses in architecture, interiors, landscape and urbanism.

Interested in a PhD in Architecture, Interiors & Urbanism?

Browse our postgraduate research degrees – including PhDs and MPhils – at our Architecture, Interiors & Urbanism postgraduate research degrees page.