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Action Research and the Practice of Design

Team F  Presenta,on  by  Ji-­‐ha  Kim  and  Arron  Jackson  

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Crisis of  confidence  in  the  professional.   An  unfortunate  accident  of  historical  ,ming...  

Percep,on of  the  design  process  as  a   mys,cal  leap  towards  a  solu,on.  

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20th century  design  is  described  to  have  grown  out  of  applied  art  tradi,ons,   but  with  the  propaganda  efforts  in  World  War  2,  different  and  ra,onal   methods  for  making  design  decisions  were  developed  by  designers  coming   from  an  engineering  background  to  promote  a  “scien,fic  method”  of  design   problem  solving.  

Modernist thinking  perpetua,ng  scien,fic  and   engineering  research  models.   Though  there  may  be  many  ways  to  construc,ng  personal  knowledge,  a   “pluralis,c  approach  that  recognizes  these  dimensions  is  now  preferred  to   the  former  posi,vist  paradigm  that  sought  to  prescribe  a  universal  truth.”  

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Problem Solving  

Designers     Problem  solving  by   synthesis.     Solu,on-­‐focused   strategy.  

Scien&sts     Problem  solving  by   analysis.     Problem  focused   strategy.  

Lawson 1994  

Problem/Research       Analysis         Synthesis       Execu,on       Produc,on       Evalua,on  

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``The designer  oXen  telescopes  a  mass  of  fragmented  bits  of   informa,on  and  then  –  usually  aXer  a  period  of  incuba,on  –   invents  a  coherent  and  oXen  elegant  proposi,on  that   embodies  all  or  most  of  the  rag-­‐bag  of  bits``   ``period  of  incuba&on``   right  brained  holis&c  thinking    SYNTHESIS    designer  thinking  as  research  tool     ``Without  an  imagina,ve  insight  into  what  data  “might”  mean  and  the   variety  of  ways  in  which  it  “could”  be  interpreted,  science  would  have   made  liWle  progress  in  extending  the  body  of  knowledge.``  

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Ac,on Research   A  prac,cal  research  methodology  that  usually  requires  three  condi,ons   to  be  met.  

1.  Subject maWer  normally  is  situated  in  a  social   prac,ce  that  needs  to  be  changed.   2.  It  is  a  par,cipatory  ac,vity  where  the  researchers   work  in  equitable  collabora,on.   3.  The  project  proceeds  through  a  spiral  of  cycles  of   planning,  ac,ng,  observing,  and  reflec,ng  in  a   systema,c  and  documented  study.   Research  –  analysis  –  synthesis  -­‐  evalua,on   Plan  –  act  –  observe  -­‐  reflect  

Ac,on research  has  both  ac,on  outcomes  and   research  outcomes  of  varying  intensity.  

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Collaborate

``Authen,c collabora,on  in  research  is  more  than  just  a   mul,disciplinary  design  team  approach.  The  users  of  design  should   be  genuine  `collaborators,`  and  not  merely  co-­‐opted  for  token   comments  in  an  illusion  of  collabora,on.``  

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“Ac,on research  requires  the  research   process  to  be  made  visible.”   If  a  design  is  going  to  “change  reality,”  it  inevitably   requires  considerable  investment  in  ,me  and   money,  and  the  public  should  have  the  means  to   understanding  the  development  process.  

Cri,cal (and  self  cri,cal)  collabora,ve  inquiry  by   Reflec,ve  prac,,oners  being   Accountable  and  making  the  results  of  their  inquiry  made  public   Self-­‐evalua,ng  their  prac,ce  and  engaged  in   Par,cipa,ve  problem  solving  and  con,nuing  professional  development  

Data gathering  by  the  par,cipants   Par,cipa,on  and  power-­‐sharing  in  decision-­‐making   Collabora,on  as  a  cri,cal  community   Self-­‐reflec,on,  self-­‐evalua,on,  and  self-­‐management   Learning  progressively  by  doing  and  making  (mistakes)  in  a  “self-­‐reflec,ve  cycle”  

Dr. Ortrun  Zuber  SkerriW  

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“Sharing experiences  in  the  form  of  substan,ve   discourse  of  this  nature  will  help  design  to  progress   as  a  discipline  field”     The  fear  of  “giving  away”  to  the  compe,,on.  

“Ac,on research  methodology  provides  a  ready-­‐made  scaffold  for  a   systema,c  research  method  that  could  be  easily  understood  and   adopted  by  designers  in  the  transla,on  of  their  professional   prac,ce  into  acceptable  academic  and  public  discourse.”   8  


Thank You  

A Presentation on Action Research by byJi-­‐ha Kim and Arron Jackson  

A Presentation on Action Research by byJi-­‐ha Kim and Arron Jackson for Deborah Shackleton's SOCS 309 course