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PHD-DESIGN  March 2013

PHD-DESIGN March 2013

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Subject:

Re: Beyond academia

From:

Johann van der Merwe <[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:

Sat, 23 Mar 2013 11:38:20 +0200

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Birger
just a flying past comment (we South Africans, after all, invented real
guerilla fighting techniques: fast in and fast out).
[1] I would opt for a "strength in diversity" approach to the "discipline"
of design;
[2] I agree: basic research skills (really being able to think through the
wicked problems) are a necessity, and we introduced these from is yara
onwards;
[3] You wrote "So it seems we have produced some design PhDs that have and
are about to integrate in industry in a great way."
We have produced some 3rd years that not only integrated with the
industries they were farmed out to in their work-experience programmes, but
design students who began to pick up on the (practical) problems they
observed in the workplace, and were able to make suggestions that the
management (at least) were willing to listen to - thanks to the
(cybernetic) systems thinking we had discussed at length before they went
on this programme. The aim of any design programme that ends with PhDs
should be this awareness of how, why, and because of what, the industry
they find themselves in works, or, does not work (properly).
Johann



On 23 March 2013 10:32, Birger Sevaldson <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Dear Ken
> There's obviously much work to do on many fronts and one of them is to
> define the research methods etc in our discipline. Design research is about
> to become a discipline so this work is obviously not settled and i hope it
> will remain unsettled for a while. I agree in this. But we also need to
> discuss what is the role of designing (practice and amongst that e.g.
> drawing) in design research. This goes far beyond generative probes and is
> a central question that distinguishes design research from other
> disciplines in the first place.
>
> Sometimes i wonder if its worth the effort to forge it into one discipline
> or if we just should settle on our disagreements and walk forward along
> multiple parallel paths. Parts of these difficulties come obviously from
> the diversity inherent in design research.
>
> But some other times i think of it as a question of balance: Developing
> our "discipline" from within vs learning from others, from the outside of
> the discipline. If so we disagree on balance.
>
> I always thought that a field without basic research is next to nothing.
> Basic research is the internal blood that lets the discipline develop so
> that it is distinct from other disciplines. There must be a difference
> between design research as a field, its methods and approaches and the rest
> or it has no justification. So what is this difference according to you Ken?
>
> Here some trends from Oslo (AHO), this is really not substantial since it
> is about 10 to 15 ongoing and finished PhDs the last years:
> Before a PhD candidate in design was regarded as a "nerd", a person who
> didn't really make it as a designer and who actually didn't have design
> skills and therefore sought an academic career. Today we see the best and
> most talented designers opt for a PhD. Also before with a PhD one would
> typically go for a career in a design school or university. Today it seems
> a majority of the candidates start to work in young businesses that are
> more and more oriented towards design research integrated with counselling
> or in research projects owned by companies and partly financed by the
> research council.
>
> So it seems we have produced some design PhDs that have and are about to
> integrate in industry in a great way.
>
> Here are the ongoing research projects at AHO www.designresearch.no
> Most of it is externally fundet in collaboraiton with business.
> Sure theres lot to critizise but im pretty proud to be part of that
> activity and not very worried about the future carreers of those
> researchers.
>
>
> 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 Ken
> Friedman [[log in to unmask]]
> Sendt: 23. mars 2013 06:20
> Til: [log in to unmask]
> Emne: Re: Beyond academia
>
> Re: Beyond academia
>
> Dear Gopi – and All,
>
> Gopi’s post points to an important and growing trend, the uses and value
> of a PhD in careers outside the academy. While this is once again becoming
> important, this issue has been on the agenda several times since the 1970s.
>
> One issue to raise here is that the standards for employment as a
> researcher outside the university are often higher than university
> standards, at least higher than those for any position other than a post in
> a strong research field at an elite research university.
>
> Two good books cover employment outside the university sector: Susan
> Basalla and Maggie Debelius (2007) “So What Are You Going to Do with
> That?”: Finding Careers Outside Academia, and Margaret L. Newhouse (1993)
> Outside the Ivory Tower: A Guide for Academics Considering Alternative
> Careers.
>
> Those who want to learn more about employment opportunities for graduated
> researchers outside the university will find a rich array of resources at
> the Harvard University Office of Career Services:
>
> http://www.ocs.fas.harvard.edu/students/gsas/options.htm#Ivory<
> http://www.ocs.fas.harvard.edu/students/gsas/options.htm%23Ivory>
>
> Derek Miller’s post represents an aspect of the issues that matter for
> employers that need research services outside the university sector.
>
> Employers outside the university who hire people with a PhD need people
> who can really do research. They are not interested in debating whether
> drawing is research. They don’t want to redefine research to say that
> practice is really a form of research. Non-university employers don’t want
> researchers who publish in dodgy journals to create publishing statistics
> for government exercises, and they only send researchers to conferences
> that will further the organizational research agenda. Few design
> conferences attract researchers from the non-university sector, and those
> that do are not involved in practice as research.
>
> A couple years back, I was at a meeting with government officials, deans,
> heads of some research programs in design and related fields, and leaders
> from industrial firms and research organizations. The head of one design
> research program complained that industry and government do not fund design
> research, nor do they hire many PhD graduates in design. He asked why this
> was so.
>
> The head of a multi-national research organization said, “I can tell you
> why.” This was a board-level executive at an organization employing
> thousands of researchers. Most have a PhD. Their programs include product
> development and many kinds of work that would be perfect for design
> graduates if they also have research skills. His answer was that the vast
> majority of design school PhD programs fail to graduate people with the
> research skills that a PhD graduates master in most disciplines.
>
> After the meeting, I asked him if this applies to all university-level PhD
> programs in design. “Not all,” he said. “We hire doctoral graduates from
> some design programs.”
>
> “So there are PhD programs in the design disciplines that qualify people
> for jobs in your organization. How many universities are you talking about?”
>
> “Oh, at least ten or twelve.” he said. “There might be a couple more I
> don’t know about.”
>
> “So Australia isn’t doing so badly, then,” I said.
>
> He started laughing. “Australia? I’m talking about the entire world. Only
> two of these universities are in Australia.”
>
> We spent several hours talking about this, then and since. He says
> everything that Derek said, sometimes in different words, but addressing
> the same issues. Those who think I’m too blunt in my comments on research
> issues don’t want to meet that man. His organization has a constant and
> growing need for researchers, and he undertaken massive reviews of research
> training in several fields, including design. He knows what many of our
> programs do – and don’t – achieve.
>
> He pinpoints areas where PhD programs in design are weak: knowledge of
> multiple research methods, methodological awareness, a strong foundation in
> comparative research methods and methodology, and – preferably – the
> ability to triangulate across methods, using statistical analysis together
> with qualitative analysis, and generative probes.
>
> PhD programs in design schools tend to be strong in one area only, the
> ability to develop generative probes. Many PhD graduates in design can
> handle the inventive and generative aspect of practice-based research, but
> not the analytical and evaluative aspects of practice-based research. Both
> generation and analysis typify practice-based research in such fields as
> medicine, nursing, engineering, informatics, management, or law. PhD
> graduates need both for a career outside the academy.
>
> In addition to methodological skills, Gordon Rugg and Marian Petre (2004:
> 6-7) offer a partial list of the other skills that PhD graduates must
> demonstrate in most fields, especially those who work outside the academy:
> [Use of language] “correct use of technical terms; attention to detail in
> punctuation, grammar, etc.; attention to use of typographic design … to
> make the text accessible; ability to structure and convey a clear and
> coherent argument, including attention to the use of ‘signposting’ devices
> such as headings to make the structure accessible; writing in a suitable
> academic ‘voice’; [Knowledge of background literature] seminal texts
> correctly cited, with evidence that you have read them and evaluated them
> critically; references accurate reflecting the growth of the literature
> from the seminal texts to the present day; identification of key recent
> texts on which your own PhD is based, showing both how these contribute to
> your thesis and how your thesis is different from them; relevant texts and
> concepts from other disciplines cited; organization of all of the cited
> literature into a coherent, critical structure, showing both that you can
> make sense of the literature – identifying conceptual relationships and
> themes, recognizing gaps – and that you understand what is important;
> [Research methods] knowledge of the main research methods used in your
> discipline, including data collection, record keeping, and data analysis;
> knowledge of what constitutes ‘evidence’ in your disciplines, and of what
> is acceptable as a knowledge claim; detailed knowledge – and competent
> application of – at least one method; critical analysis of one of the
> standard methods in your discipline showing that you understand both its
> strengths and its limitations; [Theory] understanding of key theoretical
> strands and theoretical concepts in your discipline; understanding how
> theory shapes your research question; ability to contribute something
> useful to the theoretical debate in your area; [Miscellaneous] ability to
> do all the above yourself, rather than simply doing what your supervisor
> tells you; awareness of where your work fits in relation to the discipline,
> and what it contributes to the discipline; mature overview of the
> discipline.”
>
> Derek’s post failed to attract as much commentary and debate as I would
> have expected. If we’re interested in careers outside the academy, this
> should not be the case.
>
> Universities can afford to keep people on staff with deficient PhD degrees
> and poor research productivity because universities can use these people as
> teachers and program managers. Industry, business, research-based
> companies, public service organizations, and government cannot afford to
> hire staff with deficient PhD degrees. If someone hired to do research
> cannot do research, they become an immediate drag on the organization. They
> waste funds and cripple research teams. The competition for non-academic
> research jobs is high, and organizations choose carefully when hiring.
>
> Universities sometimes hire a second-rate or third-rate choice rather than
> launch another search. Non-academic organizations that need research do
> not. They hire first-rate candidates or they don’t fill the job. If they
> make a mistake in hiring, they fire swiftly. Both conditions also apply at
> first-rate research universities that develop and increase their research
> capacity.
>
> Yours,
>
> Ken
>
> Ken Friedman, PhD, DSc (hc), FDRS | University Distinguished Professor |
> Swinburne University of Technology | Melbourne, Australia |
> [log in to unmask] | Mobile +61 404 830 462 | Home Page
> http://www.swinburne.edu.au/design/people/Professor-Ken-Friedman-ID22.htmlAcademia Page
> http://swinburne.academia.edu/KenFriedman About Me Page
> http://about.me/ken_friedman
>
> Guest Professor | College of Design and Innovation | Tongji University |
> Shanghai, China
>
> References
>
> Basalla, Susan, and Maggie Debelius. 2007 [2001]. “So What Are You Going
> to Do with That?”: Finding Careers Outside Academia. Revised 2nd Edition.
> Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
>
> Newhouse, Margaret L. 1993. Outside the Ivory Tower: A Guide for Academics
> Considering Alternative Careers. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard
> University Office of Career Services.
>
> Rugg, Gordon, and Marian Petre. 2004. The Unwritten Rules of PhD Research.
> Maidenhead and New York: Open University Press.
>
>
>
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>



-- 
Dr. Johann van der Merwe
Independent Design Researcher


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