PURPOSE : The purpose of this paper is to report on an exploratory study of third-year architecture students’ information behaviour. It focusses on information activities, personal experience, resource usage, preferences in working individually or collaboratively, preferences for information resources inspiring creativity and physical spaces to be creative.
DESIGN/METHODOLOGY/APPROACH : It was a mixed methods study with a strongly qualitative component and limited descriptive quantitative data. Data were collected in October 2016 at a South African university using individual self-administered questionnaires and semi-structured individual interviews; 19 out of 60 (response rate 32 per cent) third-year architecture students doing a design project participated.
FINDINGS : Creativity is important in architecture projects, as is information resources in stimulating creativity. Students preferred to work individually during their design projects; at times collaboration was needed for idea generation. Information activities included: information gathering, encountering, use and sharing. A range of theoretical, technical, artistic and practical skills and knowledge must be integrated to produce creative outcomes, in addition, to information searching and information usage. Factual information is also required. Students can benefit from a supportive information rich creative space (physical or virtual).
RESEARCH LIMITATIONS/IMPLICATIONS : The study was conducted at only one institution with a small number of participants. Although generalisation of findings is not possible, issues for further research can be noted.
PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS : Designers of physical and virtual creative spaces must take into account different facets of information behaviour and the information resources and services required during creative information-seeking activities.
ORIGINALITY/VALUE : Although there is literature on information behaviour and creativity, the authors could not find any that explores architecture students’ information behaviour in academic spaces of creativity.