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Subject:

RE: Design and research (dihotomies, bicycles, and knowledge of any kind knowledge of any kind)

From:

Rosan Chow <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Rosan Chow <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 16 Oct 2000 07:51:48 -500

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Dear Klaus and all

Sorry for this late reply to your very 
helpful insights.

Your arguments 'feel' right to me,  (I say 'feel' 
because I don't 'know' enough to make 
any sound judgement. But then again,
I never fully understand why feeling and 
knowing has to be dichtomous).

On the one hand, in the context of design 'research',
I like your suggestion to use terms such as 
'inquiry' and 'reflection' instead of 'research'
for the simple reason that 'research' 
is loaded with meanings that are 
cemented for centuries and hard to break.
By changing the language, we can start 
a different discourse that may be 
more relevant and meaningful for design 'research'.

On the other hand, I am stuggling with that by replacing
'design research' with 'design inquiry', do we not 
reinforce the connotated 'power' differences that 
each term carries? The traditional discourse on 'research'
will be maintained and any design research will be forever 
at a disadvantage and be judged from that framed perspective.

I think that I maybe getting caught again in the hegemonic 
position between scientific research and design research,
between rationality and creativity, between theoretical
knowing and practical knowing, and knowing and feeling.

Your comments and insights would be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely yours
Rosan

Rosan Chow
Graduate Student
College of Design
North Carolina State University


> dear rosan,
> i agree with what lubomir said about the distinction between science and
> design.  you are unsure of where research belongs in this distinction and i
> think your intuition is right that it belongs to the paradigm of science.  i
> do not want to quote from previous papers of mine but let me repeat the
> argument anyway:
> 
> research is after all re-search: searching the record of past observations
> again and again to discover patters that moreover can be generalized beyond
> the data.  this is a procedure to find continuities that are invariant,
> ideally forever, that is also in the future which design is to change.  i
> would say that knowing design is orthogonal to the knowledge that research
> can generate.
> 
> there are other words we could use, inquiry and reflection, for example,
> that may have other drawbacks but are not tied to discovering what existed
> in the past and is invariant into a future.
> 
> i think the kind of methodologies that are essential for design are
> 
> (1) narrating possible futures
> (2) searching the present for what is variable and can lead to desirable
> futures.  this includes examining ways to overcome prejudices, of violating
> presumed laws of nature, finding temporary stabilities that hide the
> leverage points for effective changes.
> (3) justifying designs, a rhetoric whose criteria is not truth but the
> recruiting of a sufficient number of stakeholders so that the design project
> can be realized.
> (4) collaborative designing.  delegating design to others, designers and
> non-designers alike.  people talk of goals, values, ethics without realizing
> that these are a property not of a designer's mind but of the network of
> stakeholders in design.
> 
> klaus


– i


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