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Perspectives on gender in design education: A four years comparative study [ITU J Faculty Arch]
ITU J Faculty Arch. 2010; 7(2): 133-145

Perspectives on gender in design education: A four years comparative study

Ömür Barkul1, Ayla Ayyıldız Potur2
1Yıldız Technical University, Faculty of Architecture, Istanbul, TURKEY
2Gebze Institute of Technology, Faculty of Architecture, Istanbul, TURKEY

Gender indicators have the special function of pointing out gender related comparison over time. An indicator is a pointer. It can be a measurement, a number, a fact, an opinion or a perception that points at a specific condition or situation, and measures changes in that condition or situation. Although there are several gender indicators, research on diversity issues related to divergent thinking is quite important, since it is most critical to advancement in design education. Because, the question of gender differences in divergent thinking is a complex, controversial and contentious topic, little attention was yet devoted to study the assessment of gender effects on divergent thinking through psychometric tools for the benefits of architectural design education. Although researchers have attempted to measure differences between man and woman in order to provide a better understanding of the women’s under-representation in creative fields by identifying physical and psychological differences, a number of questions remain unanswered in architectural design area and they required to be tested in a more empirical way. The aim of this four years experimental study is to explore gender perspectives in architectural design education. A total of 599 undergraduates from different level of design education took part in this comparative experimental study. In order to observe the development of the research and to make a comparison, the first results of the first two years study (147 undergraduates from different level of design education) were given in this paper. Because of the difficulties of defining and operationalising the concept of divergent thinking, the most widely researched and analyzed divergent thinking tests which supported by more evidence of validity and reliability than any others were employed. In similar to the findings of the first two years, the results of this four years comparative study that investigates gender differences through divergent thinking measures with the sample of approximately six hundred undergraduates from different level of education indicated that there is not a statistically significant difference among genders. Although this is the first comprehensive study investigating gender issues through divergent thinking measures with psychometric ways in architectural education literature, findings supported some of others in the general education literature. In spite of these theoretical and experimental results, what can be the reasons of the existence few female role models in creative fields of architecture and design related disciplines discussed in the conclusion part of the study.

Keywords: Gender, architectural design, design education, creativity, divergent thinking


Ömür Barkul, Ayla Ayyıldız Potur. Perspectives on gender in design education: A four years comparative study. ITU J Faculty Arch. 2010; 7(2): 133-145

Corresponding Author: Ömür Barkul, Türkiye


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