On several occasions, Victor Margolin has raised this important issue. It applies not simply to understanding the theoretical contributions of those who came before us — or still play active roles in our research community, as Don Norman, Nigel Cross, Dick Buchanan, and Victor Margolin do.
In June 2011, Victor Margolin posted a terrific note to the list on what he calls intertextuality, the conversation among authors over years, decades, or even centuries that builds a field. I responded with a post titled “Literacy.” A thread followed. You can follow the thread on the list archive starting on June 26, 2011. You can also use the search engine connected to the PhD-Design home page. Put the word “Literacy” in the subject header and go back to June 2011.
Once again, I want to bang the drum for the concept of the literature review article — and this can well apply to reviews covering the work of a single author. Articles on a single author also constitute core contributions to other genres, including the bibliographic essay, and the appreciation essay.
Given the currency of this thread, I am going to leave an article on my Academia.edu page a while longer. This is Jane Webster and Richard Watson's (2002) excellent article in the journal MISQ titled “Analyzing the Past to Prepare for the Future: Writing a Literature Review.”
You will find it at this URL:
Click on the section for “Teaching Documents.” The article is at the bottom of the section.
The Webster & Watson article will remain on my Academia.edu page for another week, until Tuesday, August 20th.
I remain startled that so few authors in our field consider this a genre worth pursuing — now that Victor points it out, I am also startled by the lack of analysis given to serious contributors to design theory. Our field would benefit greatly from any of several approaches to this literature. Mark Blaug's (1986, 1989) overview of two hundred great economists in a series of short articles with references covers the field, showing the great thinkers and locating their ideas in the great discussions of their era. Clifford Geertz (1989) writes a series of appreciative bibliographic essays on the works of several great anthropologists. Rob Stones's (2007) book is a bit more of a textbook overview, and books like this also have useful role.
Even without getting up to book length, though, we have room in our journals for literature reviews covering ideas, themes, topics, research streams, or the work of single authors over their careers.
Again, you will find the Webster & Watson article on how to write a literature review article at this URL:
Ken Friedman, PhD, DSc (hc), FDRS | University Distinguished Professor | Swinburne University of Technology | Melbourne, Australia | [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]> | Mobile +61 404 830 462 | Home Page http://www.swinburne.edu.au/design/people/Professor-Ken-Friedman-ID22.html<http://www.swinburne.edu.au/design> 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
Blaug, Mark. 1986. Great Economists Before Keynes: An Introduction to the Lives and Works of One Hundred Great Economists of the Past. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Blaug, Mark. 1989. Great Economists Since Keynes: An Introduction to the Lives and Works of One Hundred Modern Economists. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Geertz, Clifford. 1989. Works and Lives: The Anthropologist as Author. Palo Alto, California: Stanford University Press.
Stones, Rob. 2007. Key Sociological Thinkers. Second Edition. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Webster, Jane, and Richard T. Watson. 2002. “Analyzing the Past to Prepare for the Future: Writing a Literature Review.” Management Information Science Quarterly Vol. 26 No. 2, (June), xiii-xxiii.
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