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PHD-DESIGN  March 2013

PHD-DESIGN March 2013

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Subject:

SV: Verification, Falsification, validation, design and wicked problems

From:

Birger Sevaldson <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

PhD-Design - This list is for discussion of PhD studies and related research in Design <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 20 Mar 2013 09:07:00 +0100

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Dear Luke
Thanks for your sharp replay.
Good comments.

When I wrote the paper I thought Archer and Frailing's Into Through and For where insufficient and that there was a need for a much more fine-grained description of the different modes in design research. As I also write in the paper and briefly discuss is the confusion that follows after Frailing by referring to a few interpretations and critique. It is certainly not clear and settled yet. Also I think that there are different conceptions about the modes of research that engage in designing. I think Frailing imagined a more artistic approach where the designer would work with a piece of art so to say in isolation. Or may i ask you is this your imagination? I think this artistic idea of design research is more present in the UK than e.g. in Scandinavia. So there is a problem of conception even when starting to discuss this. Makes me believe the distinction created with Research by Design is needed.
 I think of it differently than the imagined artist in the studio letting the artefact speak for itself. I think of Research by Design as a highly connected generative research mode, with designing as the core activity playing multiple roles. This a mode of inquiry containing dialogue and collaboration. This to me just demonstrates the need for such fine-grained investigations into design research to get at the detailed aspects of the different concepts and modes as I attempted with mixed success in the paper. I look at it as one step and I would hope more such high-res studies, better resourced and with capacity to dig deeper and reach at different ends, would follow.

Here are my thoughts about isolationism: I don't think Research by Design is isolated because there are many potential touch points to other research concepts in other fields, to mention, practice research, action research, case study research, engineering research and technology development, cultural studies and others. If it degenerates is in the future and depends on many things. Actually one can degenerate while being fully connected. (ref to Kuhns revolutions) But the discussion about the making disciplines, the new modes of knowledge production etc will continue in one or the other form. Im sure.

Another thing about isolationism is this: Design is a new field of knowledge production. We follow in the footsteps of a long line of young sciences. Becoming a new field seems to follow a certain pattern. There is a pecking order in science and design research is this little colourful small chicken. And as we know colourful chickens are pecked upon. 

A new field in science seems to go through something like this: 

1: adaptation: trying to adapt to other standards most likely to the next youngest chicken. 
2: when realizing this does not work because the approaches do not function in the new field and the next youngest chicken is a specially vicious one, our little chap starts to experiment with and modify existing approaches, still hoping for acceptance. 
3: modifying established approaches is not working to get acceptance. In contrary it causes more rage. Give up on acceptance.
4: Chicken hides in a corner and starts to develop own approaches inspired and informed by others. Constantly spying on the others.
5: Other chickens deem the new one as insignificant and isolated and leave in peace. 
6: Ready to start working interdisciplinary with fresh ideas. Some wise older chicken more likely to collaborate  because the ridicolous  little guy is not a threat and because they manage to see something useful and different. 
7: Slowly gaining acceptance but only small hope for climbing in the fixed hierarchy. Establishing its own gatekeepers.
8. Next young chicken arrives. Our colourful now next youngest chicken is the most furious mobber in the flock.

Well this is not to be taken too seriously it is a funny cartoon from the chickens cage.  :) But i would prefere to stay on stage 3 to 6 a while, referring to Eduardos Teenager.

This might be a joke but i do not know of any new science that does not have its own approaches developed from within. I think design research should be more concerned about research design.

Birger Sevaldson (PhD, MNIL)
Professor at Institute of Design
Oslo School of Architecture and Design
Norway
www.birger-sevaldson.no
www.systemsorienteddesign.net
www.ocean-designresearch.net
________________________________________
Fra: PhD-Design - This list is for discussion of PhD studies and related research in Design [[log in to unmask]] p&#229; vegne av Luke Feast [[log in to unmask]]
Sendt: 20. mars 2013 02:36
Til: [log in to unmask]
Emne: Re: Verification, Falsification, validation, design and wicked problems

Dear Birger,

Thank you for your reply and link to your paper. Yes the paper is extensive
and since I have only had time to look at it briefly I will only make a
short comment concerning your statements about Research by Design. You
write (Sevaldson, 2010, p. 11):

-snip-
*Research THROUGH Design*: Any research were the design practice is central
in generating knowledge.

*Research by Design:* A special research mode where the explorative,
generative and innovative aspects of design are engaged and aligned in a
systematic research inquiry. The definition distinguishes Design practices
in research from other practices... To my mind, this is the most
appropriate term to describe the most central mode of research in the
design fields.
-end snip-

Later on you state (Sevaldson, 2010, p. 13) "The very core of design
research, Research BY Design, produces knowledge by engaging in the
generative, in the act of designing."

Moreover, I believe your description of Research by Design is more or
less consistant with Frayling's (1993, p. 5, emphasis in the
original) description of Research for Art and Design:

-snip-
“The thorny one is Research *for* Art and Design, research with a small
'r'... Research where the end product is an artifact - where the thinking
is, so to speak, *embodied in the artifact*, where the goal is not
primarily communicable knowledge in the sense of verbal communication, but
in the sense of visual or iconic or imagistic communication.”
-end snip-

Frayling (1993, p. 1) defines research with a small r, from the Oxford
English Dictionary as “the act of searching, closely or carefully, for or
after a specified thing or person” and elaborates, “it isn’t about
professionalism, or rules, or guidelines, or laboratories”. In contrast, he
associates research with a “big R” with the professionalization of research
in the university sector.

It seems to me that your description of Research by Design as "a special
research mode" distinguished from other practices (and I assume this
includes research practices too), and it's similarity to Frayling's
definition of Research for Art and Design as a form of research with a
small 'r' ("the act of searching" that produces an artifact as opposed to
professional university research), places the work of Research by Design in
an Isolationist relationship to other disciplines and university faculties
(Biggs, 2008, p. 6).

I do not believe that Research by Design is very core of design research,
rather it is (perhaps) part of one of many research programmes. As I stated
in my previous post, due to its Isolationist position, I believe that if
one takes a long term view of the growth of scientific knowledge, then
the Research by Design research programme is more likely to be degenerative
than progressive.

warm regards,

Luke


Biggs, M. A. R., & Buchler, D. (2008). Eight criteria for
practice-based research
in the creative and cultural industries. *Art, Design & **Communication in
Higher Education*, 7 (1), 5-18.

Frayling, C. (1993) Research in art and design. *Royal College of Art
Research Papers, *1*, *1-5.

Sevaldson, B., (2010). Discussions & Movements in Design Research: A
systems approach to practice research in design. FORM*akademisk, *3 (1),
8-35




--

Luke Feast | Early Career Development Fellow | PhD Candidate | Faculty of
Design, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia |
[log in to unmask] | Ph: +61 3 9214 6165 |
http://www.swinburne.edu.au/design/


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