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PHD-DESIGN  March 2013

PHD-DESIGN March 2013

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Subject:

Theory, Development and Demonstration

From:

Charles Burnette <[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:

Fri, 29 Mar 2013 11:07:38 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

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Ken and colleagues,

I have just had the pleasure of reading Ken's 2003 paper Theory construction in design research: criteria: approaches, and methods. (available on academia.edu or from Ken's Swinburne site)  It is well written, scholarly and an altogether wonderful resource, that I had not previously read. I recommend it highly to all PhD candidates and anyone wanting a good overview of theory construction -  with two caveats: 1) It organizes definitions and references well but is not a theory itself - It is a researcher's digest of selected writings on theory. 2) It  does not explain how a theory may arise or be developed to address a situation in context. It is an academic paper lacking demonstrative narrative  - but a very good one, nevertheless.

As many probably realize, I am wary of the emphasis on the PhD as advanced training to teach research methods without a similar emphasis on conceptual specifications worth validating, elaborating, or disproving through research. The words Development and Demonstration seem to have been dropped from the research lexicon in favor of assessment and testing. PhD candidates with a strong interest in understanding and adding to knowledge about some subject relevant to the field should, in my view, be encouraged and helped to specify the concepts they wish to clarify  through theory and to evaluate them through demonstration before acquiring relevant tools to conduct  "research"  to confirm or deny the propositions that result.

In any event, I thank Ken for motivating these thoughts. I have recently posted a paper : "Issues, Assumptions and Components in A Theory of Design Thinking" at  www. independent.academia.edu/charlesburnette that was arrived at independently but might have been usefully informed  by Ken's paper, especially by McNeil's 11 characteristics of any general theory. * The reader is invited to critique my exposition by applying McNeil's criteria as listed in Ken's paper.

* McNeil D H ‘Reframing systemic paradigms for the art of learning’, Conference of the American Society for Cybernet-ics (1993)

Thanks Ken,
Chuck


  

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