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What is Research By Design? Some pointers

What is Research By Design? Some pointers



This presentation was prepared for the course of methodology at the faculty of Architecture of the Delft University of Technology. It builds on the ideas of Biggs and Buchler (2008) about Practice ...

This presentation was prepared for the course of methodology at the faculty of Architecture of the Delft University of Technology. It builds on the ideas of Biggs and Buchler (2008) about Practice based research (PbR) to try and understand "research by design" at TU Delft.



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    What is Research By Design? Some pointers What is Research By Design? Some pointers Presentation Transcript

    • Research by Design or Design by Research? Looking for parameters to assess academic value in practice based research Roberto Rocco, based on Biggs and Büchler (2008) Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands University of Hertfordshire, UK
    • What is research? … RESEARCH is typically defined as a systematic investigation on a subject that generally leads to the production of explicit knowledge adding to the existing body of knowledge about the subject.
    • What is Research? In short, research refers to the body of techniques for investigating phenomena or processes, acquiring knowledge, new knowledge, or modifying and knowledge. integrating previous knowledge.
    • What is research? We assume that academic research can be done using traditional and non- non-traditional tools.
    • Traditional forms of research method, A scientific method, which is the base of any traditional form of research, consists of the collection of data through observation and experimentation, experimentation, and the formulation hypotheses. and testing of a hypotheses.
    • Traditional forms of research TRADITIONAL forms of research include, for example, the collection, organisation and analyses of data leading to the substantiation or disproval of a previously hypothesis. stated hypothesis. It can also lead to the discovery of unexpected new models.
    • Attributes of scientific research: CUDOS Merton’s Merton s Scientific Norms* 1. Communalism 2. Universalism (Transferability/ generalizability) generalizability) 3. Disinterestedness 4. Organised Scepticism * Merton, R. The Normative Structure of Science, 1942
    • Non-traditional forms of research Generally refers to practice-based research practice- (practice, experimentation and visualisation) visualisation) and experience based research. For example: •Use of visual media, such as video and photography and new Use ways of visualisation and representation 3- •Use of new technologies (tracking technologies, GIS, 3-D Use cartography, real time mapping) •Experience research (as in the anthropology of the self) Experience Action based” •“Action based research
    • Non traditional forms of research… NON TRADITIONAL forms of research may arts- practice- refer to arts-based or practice-based research, which might be comparable to scientific methods because: 1. They might be conducted in a systematic way aiming at answering a research question, prove or disprove a hypothesis 2. They might lead to new knowledge and add to the existing body of knowledge
    • Non-traditional forms of research The contribution of design practice to academic research can be best described as a spectrum with two poles, extreme poles, with a long and variable combinations between the two.
    • Non-traditional forms of research RbD: Three workable ways to describe RbD: 1. Exploratory practice within the traditional model of academic research 2. Practice as generator of relevant questions explored within structures provided by traditional models of academic research 3. Problematic view that claims that design practice IS academic research
    • Problems with research by design (non- Non traditional results (non-textual) that are the outcome of RbD might have the following limitations: • Incommensurability with traditional results • Experiential content : it goes against the notion of generalizability or at least transferability of research • Lack of shared definition of scientific criteria
    • Lack of shared criteria The question of research by design is therefore CIRCULAR: If criteria are developed from actual case studies it is difficult to subsequently use the criteria as defining characteristics of research because they are influenced by the case studies which could not have been filtered without using the criteria.
    • Circularity in the quest for shared criteria in PbR
    • Lack of shared criteria It does not respond to a group of expanded criteria that is compatible with, and comparable to, those held in traditional forms of research.
    • Non-explicit knowledge If visual representation is not interpreted (through traditional textual analysis), and knowledge is not made explicit, we will explicit, lack parameters to judge, asses, use and diffuse the knowledge produced, especially when it comes to conveying new knowledge across different communities of practice.
    • Back to the basics Therefore, there is a need to go back to fundamentals before making claims regarding the benefits of RbD. RbD. This fundamental approach would ask structural research, questions about the essential nature of research, ensuring that RbD is comparable in rigor and value to scholarship produced with traditional forms of research and communication of knowledge.
    • Specifities of Urban Design Urban design CAN be subject to scientific evaluation methods (ante- and post-occupation analysis, (ante- post- environmental impacts, financial feasibility and sustainability, new spatial analysis criteria, like Space Syntax and Visibility) Urban design is subject to political and economical criteria (that are not necessarily scientific) There is a consistent collection of basic technical rules on urban design (e.g. ideal width of streets, material resistance, optimal occupation rates of plots, etc). BUT THIS IS NOT THE POINT
    • What is the point ? Can the product of spatial design (the itself) design itself) be considered KNOWLEDGE following basic criteria used in traditional research?
    • RbD as sub-group of academic research In this research, Biggs and Buchler see RbD as a sub-group of academic research. sub- • This means that it does not need totally new criteria of assessment, but the existing criteria for assessing academic research must be enlarged and interpreted.
    • UKCGE`s proposal To broaden the traditional scientific model (formation and testing of a hypothesis), redefining its general terms, the UKCGE proposes the following parameters: 1. The acquisition of relevant data 2. The exercise of critical and analytical skills 3. Sustained and coherent argumentation 4. Clarity in presentation and communication
    • Hertfordshire Proposal: necessary and sufficient criteria for academic research Criterion based assessment • Dissemination (Communication + Impact) • Originality • Context
    • Dissemination Research must influence the actions of others practioners The opposite scenario is one where everyone is re- constantly re-inventing the wheel, which is not effective Research should make generation of knowledge efficient. more efficient. By sharing knowledge, we allow co- the creative energies of co-researchers to be applied to more advanced topics. Research is therefore a CUMMULATIVE process, even if one rejects the [Modernist] notion of it being progressive.
    • Communication & Impact audience. Research must have a target audience. There is no guarantee that this audience will recognise the research as such. However, it is more probable that the research will impact on the audience if it is communicated through an effective (oriented) channel. research, The audience is firstly the community of research, because by sharing knowledge with them we field. can maximise the development of the field.
    • Originality Research must result in something original that was not known or interpreted in this way before Knowledge must be knew for the audience and not only for the researcher
    • Context Research must be contextualised because context, 1. By placing outcomes in a critical context, the researcher contributes to the argument in defence of originality 2. The researcher makes clear the way in which the knowledge develops or departs from existing modes of understanding
    • Impact and relevance Knowledge must be disseminated. Dissemination means not only putting the work out in the world, but also doing so in a TARGETED way, so it reaches an audience for whom it is CONSEQUENTIAL.
    • Originality and context The audience will only recognise with, originality if they are familiar with, or are presented with, a CONTEXT in with, apparent. which originality becomes apparent.