Planning Students’ Conceptions of Research

Dorina Pojani, Anthony Kimpton, Roberto Rocco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
15 Downloads (Pure)


This study examines the conceptualizations of planning research by more than two hundred Master’s students enrolled in planning schools located throughout four continents. The study is set in the context of theories on the two main traditions of planning thought: “planning as a social science” and “planning as design.” The findings reveal that planning students typically have one of four conceptions of planning research: (1) research as trading of ideas, (2) research as gathering of evidence, (3) research as precursor to design, and (4) research as rhetoric. While the planning schools included in this study have diverse orientations (along the design–social science continuum), our findings suggest that planning students most often conceptualize this discipline as a social science. The orientation of a planning student’s current school or department appears to be more important in determining a student’s conception research than his or her undergraduate study major. While planning curricula are becoming more homogenized around the world, some national traditions persist which then affect how students regard planning research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Planning Education and Research
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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  • planning education
  • planning paradigms
  • planning students
  • research conceptions


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