Thanks for your reply. You ask a good question: “…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?”
Let me give this some thought.
There is one issue that I can say right off: there is a range of research skills that all researchers require without respect to their field. The Rugg and Petrie (2204: 6-7) inventory covers those.
I’ve got to give some thought to the other issues – if people work currently in industry with ordinary full employment as skilled designers, I can see that industry will fund their projects, since doctoral research allows current employees to enhance their already demonstrated skills with relatively little risk. This is also the case where organizations hire designers for their design skills – they can afford some flexibility on research. My concern – and that of the fellow whose gloomy outlook I described – specifically addresses the challenge of those firms that hire people with a PhD for their research skills. That’s a different story.
It would be very interesting to have some of the folks doing these PhD projects at AHO describe their work to the list, discuss the funding, and specifically address the issue of balance – including the issue of funding, the terms, and reasons.
It would also be useful to know how government treats funding for tax purposes. In Australia, a company that supports consultative research gets a tax write-off, so there is really little risk. A company that funds research without a consultative dimension gets a geared tax write-off, so if they take part in funding research, the projects they fund are actually profitable with respect to taxes. How does this work in Norway?
Finally, I have a key question. You write, “Basic research is the internal blood that lets the discipline develop so that it is distinct from other disciplines.” What do you mean by basic research?
There are some general and broadly accepted definitions of the term “basic research.” In this sense, basic research is part of a triad of basic research, applied research, and what – in some fields – is called clinical research. To write an intelligent response, I’d like to see if we mean the same thing by the term “basic research.”
I’ll give these questions some thought – if you can get some contributions from past or present research students, I’d be delighted. I’d especially like to know about funding and taxation – if there is no risk or even a tax gain, it is quite different to funding that requires risk or investment. This, in turn, says something about future research employment prospects – unless the PhD student is a designer already employed by the company as a designer.
The one thing I need to know before responding is what you mean by “basic research.”
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.html Academia 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
Rugg, Gordon, and Marian Petre. 2004. The Unwritten Rules of PhD Research. Maidenhead and New York: Open University Press.
PhD-Design mailing list <[log in to unmask]>
Discussion of PhD studies and related research in Design
Subscribe or Unsubscribe at https://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/phd-design