The RIBA's bosses claim that they are determined to find out what both members and non-members think of the work undertaken by the organisation.
The research was commissioned - at a cost of £70,000 - following the arrival of Nicholas Taylor, the new executive director of professional services at Portland Place.
While senior staffers at the RIBA insist that they are happy with the 85 per cent membership rates among ARB-registered architects, they are especially keen to discover the opinions of non-members.
Another area that the research exercise will focus on will be the fall in overseas membership, which has been in almost continuous decline for over a decade.
Officially the research's objectives are three-fold:
to discover why architects become, and remain, members of the RIBA;
to find out the value they attach to membership; and
to discover the specific sources of that perceived value.
Speaking as the research plan was unveiled on Friday, Taylor said: 'This major research programme is designed to provide us with vital information as we seek both to prioritise our efforts and to improve our communications with members.
'In many areas it is clear that our members do not have a good knowledge or understanding of the work that the RIBA carries out on their behalf.
'The results of this research will help us in setting priorities, in engaging with our members and in constructing communications tools that are targeted, relevant, effective and welcome,' he added.