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Verbalization of
Design Thinking
through Informal
Peer Critique
                Colin M. Gray
             November 2, 2012
background
Informed by exploratory study on
student experiences of design pedagogy
(Gray, in review; Willenbrock, 1991)

In reaction to research codifying the
formal critique process (Anthony, 1991)
background
Peer
Between members of the same academic
program—in close proximity in terms of
experience and status

Informal
Not bounded by a traditional classroom
environment or professor/program
representation
research
      questions
  What role does informal critique play in a
   designer’s understanding of their work?
How does informal peer critique encourage
       verbalization of design decisions?
review of
literature
literature
Existing research on critique

Desk crits (Reimer & Douglas, 2003; Boling & Smith, 2010)

Formal critique (Anthony, 1991; Percy, 2004)
literature
Link of informal critique with reflection

Self-reflection as a developmental aid
(Schön, 1985; Cross, 2007)


Verbalization of reflection within the studio (Logan, 2008; Morton &
O’Brien, 2006; Dannels, Gaffney, & Martin, 2008)
context
context
Human-Computer Interaction design (HCI/d) program in the
School of Informatics

HCI/d Master’s students (first and second year)
data
Students (4—2 dyads)

Three stage data collection:

1. One hour interview about beliefs
2. One hour constructed critique dyad
3. One hour stimulated recall session
methods
methods
Naturalistic Inquiry (Lincoln & Guba, 1985)

Critical theory (Carspecken, 1996)

Intensive interview and observation strategies were used to
target beliefs and behaviors related to critique that were largely
tacit in nature

Observation of critique between study participants allowed for a
more naturalistic view into the behaviors and strategies in situ.
analysis
Coding of emergent themes

Sequence analysis of critique participants

Separate themes for critic (the person leading the critique) and
the critiquee (the person being critiqued)
findings
findings
Major discursive structures of the peer critique process
were identified:

Beginning the critique
Major setting shifts
Ending the critique
findings
                BEGINNING THE CRITIQUE


“Jiao: Um, this is a workbook one, definitely on the topic of um
—death”
findings
                BEGINNING THE CRITIQUE


“Emily: OK, alright. So, this is a—well you’ve already seen this in
class, but I’ll OK—this is a prototype that I made for my
capstone project. Um, I am focusing on newly diagnosed HIV+
individuals and um through a lot of research, I’ve kind of gotten
into the topic of identity development, um kind of just accepting
the fact that they are HIV+…”
findings
               BEGINNING THE CRITIQUE


“Lisa: You probably know a lot about Anchor already. Um it is a
tablet application that links sailors and their loved ones um
during deployment. So during deployment when there are times
when there’s little communication, um it pulls media from a
locked box—things they have prepared for deployment, um
synthesizes a new message, even if there’s no data connection.”
findings
                 MAJOR SETTING SHIFTS


Limitations of the prototype

Worst case scenario

Internalizing new perspectives
findings
                    MAJOR SETTING SHIFTS


Limitations of the prototype

“Jiao: But I’m not sure, and uh I was curious where you guys are only
designing for American [inaudible]?
Lisa: Um, well we designed this thinking about um, well—we—we made
our target user people on deployment in the Navy or people on ships. Um
and so this—I think this could be expanded to other military branches.
Lisa: It doesn’t have to be the US, and also like people like migrant
workers, where one of the first people who like popped into our head for
ways to expand this. Um, so I don’t think it—it’s tied to an American
population. I mean, that’s what we chose to be our—our starting point.
But you can definitely—”
findings
                           MAJOR SETTING SHIFTS


Worst Case Scenario

“Paul: It might be a newer maybe newly diagnosed, it might be kind of jarring to like hear
these stories of like, of people who’ve been having troubles as opposed to stories of people
who have been living with it for a long time or people who’ve had like successful shared stories
Emily: Yeah
Paul: Versus like, oh crap, that was awful or something.
Emily: Yeah, well, you know, that’s definitely one of the, I think one of the biggest problems
with this is that it has potential to have really negative outcomes, too, because you know, if I
am a African American gay male and I see the story of another African American gay male who
was disclosing his status to his mother, and his mother you know called him a fag or
something, and like you know, and—and he’s like, you know, is this going to happen to me?
So I—that’s definitely something—[laughs]”
findings
                  MAJOR SETTING SHIFTS


Internalizing New Perspectives

“Paul: It feels like communicating the idea is kind of the same
thing.
Emily: Yeah, and this is kind of more like if you need support you
have to ask for it rather than like—
Paul: Yeah
Emily: What you said with like going there and seeing like, this
support is being offered.”
findings
                      ENDING THE CRITIQUE


“Lisa: And you could cremate the person and put them in their
real tree! [laughs] They would grow in it. Oh. Somebody posted
on Facebook this thing where like you get cremated and then it’s
essentially like, I don’t know, like a Chia pet for creation, and like
you can—you can grow out of a tree or something.

Jiao: Out of the tree [laughs]. How could it? We almost done—”
findings
                    ENDING THE CRITIQUE


“Paul: Not really, I mean—anxious to see where it goes.

Emily: Me too! [laughs] Awesome, thank you.”
discussion
Framing the problem space

“Jiao: Yeah, and you know the topic then um we sort of call—
have three or four two interviews with our participant who are
[name redacted] and—and [name redacted]. They all lost their
um relatives, especially for [name redacted]. [name redacted] lost
her father um two years ago and it’s really painful for her, but
that’s sort of a journey that we kind of—we don’t know much,
because um of course we lost our um relatives or our friends, um
so our topic was um how to—how to help people who lost their
loved one in terms of terminal illness.”
discussion
Projecting user reactions

“Lisa: OK, can the family members see what the terminally ill
person is saying, or?
Jiao: Yes, they can, but also, everyone who are going to post,
they can select whether it is private or public.
Lisa: Whenever it’s private, does that become public after you
die?
Jiao: Um, I don’t think so.”
discussion
Potential scenarios of use

“Paul: You are, this is an emotional subject—[joking] but I think that might be the thing
that—that it would offer is not necessarily like the end all be all solution of like getting
these soldiers to tell their stories. Sometimes it might just be that knowledge that
there’s something out there that people are coping with this.
Emily: Yeah
Paul: Um, whereas for other people it would be that sense of I—I need to like get
assistance with this, and I need to tell somebody, because maybe I can’t tell it to
anybody here. So what’s—
Emily: Right
Paul: I just need to put it out there.”
limitations
of the study
limitations
       of the study
Exploratory nature of the study

Small number of participants

A somewhat contrived critique environment
next steps
next steps
Larger-scale study exploring the emergence of informal critique

Ethnographic methods to observe critique in a truly naturalistic
context with self-selected participants

Ongoing work to identify knowledge structures embedded in
discourse and interactions
references
Anthony, K. H. (1991). Design juries on trial: The renaissance of     Lincoln, Y. S. and Guba, E. G. (1985). Naturalistic inquiry. Sage
the design studio. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.                   Publications, Beverly Hills, CA.

Boling, E., & Smith, K. M. (2010). Intensive studio experience in a   Logan, C. (2008). Metaphor and pedagogy in the design
non-studio masters program: Student activities and thinking           practicum. International Journal of Technology and Design
across levels of design. Montréal: Design Research Society            Education, 18(1), 1-17. doi:10.1007/s10798-006-9009-x
International Conference.
                                                                      Morton, J., & O'Brien, D. (2006). Selling your design: Oral
Carspecken, P. F. (1996). Critical ethnography in educational         communication pedagogy in design education. Communication
research: A theoretical and practical guide. New York: Routledge.     Education, 54(1), 6–19. doi:10.1080/03634520500076885

Cross, N. (2007). Designerly ways of knowing. Basel, Switzerland:     Percy, C. (2004). Critical absence versus critical engagement.
Birkhäuser.                                                           Problematics of the crit in design learning and teaching. Art,
                                                                      Design & Communication in Higher Education, 2(3), 143-154.
Brandt, C.B., Cennamo, K., Douglas, S., Vernon, M., McGrath, M.
and Reimer, Y. (2011). A theoretical framework for the studio as a    Reimer, Y. J., & Douglas, S. A. (2003). Teaching HCI design with
learning environment. International Journal of Technology and         the studio approach. Computer Science Education, 13(3),
Design Education.                                                     191-205.

Cennamo, K., Brandt, C., & Scott, B. (2010). Adapting the studio      Schön, D. A. (1985). The design studio: An exploration of its
to design-based disciplines: Research-Based strategies for            traditions and potentials. London: RIBA Publications Limited.
effective practice. In Proceedings of the 2010 conference on
higher education pedagogy, Blacksburg, VA (pp. 14-5).                 Willenbrock, L. (1991). An undergraduate voice in architectural
                                                                      education. In T. A. Dutton (Ed.), Voices in architectural education:
Dannels, D., Gaffney, A., & Martin, K. (2008). Beyond content,        Cultural politics and pedagogy (pp. 97-119). New York: Bergin &
deeper than delivery: What critique feedback reveals about            Garvey.
communication expectations in design education. International
Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 2(2).

Do, E. Y. L., & Gross, M. D. (1996). Drawing as a means to design
reasoning. In AI and design.
questions?
coding scheme
       Codes Applied to Critic            Codes Applied to Critiquee
Association with User or
Problem Space                        Identification of Problem Space
Alternative Problem Space/Solution
Limitations of Prototype
                                     Setting New Scenario (Based
                                     on Critique)
Analyzing Potential User Reactions   Support with Research
                                     Referencing Former Critique

Replay Prototype                     Showing Off Prototype/Artifact

                                     Response to Worst Case Scenario
Worst Case Scenario
                                     Potential User Scenario
coding scheme
        Codes Applied to Critic        Codes Applied to Critiquee

Constructed Scenario              Internalizing New Perspective

Clarification (Interface)
                                  Request for Clarification
Clarification (Idea)

                                  Caught Off Guard/Explanation
Unsure/Confused
                                  Conflicted/Personal

Drawing Parallels                 Parallels to Other Projects

How to Proceed/Next Steps         Next Steps/Self Critique

Positive/Affirming
                                  Thanks
Humor
participants
                        participants

Participant Pseudonym   Gender   M.S. Year   Country of Origin




      Paul              M        2nd            USA


     Emily               F       2nd            USA


      Lisa               F       1st            USA


      Jiao               F       1st           China

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Verbalization of Design Thinking through Informal Peer Critique

  • 1. Verbalization of Design Thinking through Informal Peer Critique Colin M. Gray November 2, 2012
  • 2. background Informed by exploratory study on student experiences of design pedagogy (Gray, in review; Willenbrock, 1991) In reaction to research codifying the formal critique process (Anthony, 1991)
  • 3. background Peer Between members of the same academic program—in close proximity in terms of experience and status Informal Not bounded by a traditional classroom environment or professor/program representation
  • 4. research questions What role does informal critique play in a designer’s understanding of their work? How does informal peer critique encourage verbalization of design decisions?
  • 6. literature Existing research on critique Desk crits (Reimer & Douglas, 2003; Boling & Smith, 2010) Formal critique (Anthony, 1991; Percy, 2004)
  • 7. literature Link of informal critique with reflection Self-reflection as a developmental aid (Schön, 1985; Cross, 2007) Verbalization of reflection within the studio (Logan, 2008; Morton & O’Brien, 2006; Dannels, Gaffney, & Martin, 2008)
  • 9. context Human-Computer Interaction design (HCI/d) program in the School of Informatics HCI/d Master’s students (first and second year)
  • 10. data Students (4—2 dyads) Three stage data collection: 1. One hour interview about beliefs 2. One hour constructed critique dyad 3. One hour stimulated recall session
  • 12. methods Naturalistic Inquiry (Lincoln & Guba, 1985) Critical theory (Carspecken, 1996) Intensive interview and observation strategies were used to target beliefs and behaviors related to critique that were largely tacit in nature Observation of critique between study participants allowed for a more naturalistic view into the behaviors and strategies in situ.
  • 13. analysis Coding of emergent themes Sequence analysis of critique participants Separate themes for critic (the person leading the critique) and the critiquee (the person being critiqued)
  • 14.
  • 16. findings Major discursive structures of the peer critique process were identified: Beginning the critique Major setting shifts Ending the critique
  • 17. findings BEGINNING THE CRITIQUE “Jiao: Um, this is a workbook one, definitely on the topic of um —death”
  • 18. findings BEGINNING THE CRITIQUE “Emily: OK, alright. So, this is a—well you’ve already seen this in class, but I’ll OK—this is a prototype that I made for my capstone project. Um, I am focusing on newly diagnosed HIV+ individuals and um through a lot of research, I’ve kind of gotten into the topic of identity development, um kind of just accepting the fact that they are HIV+…”
  • 19. findings BEGINNING THE CRITIQUE “Lisa: You probably know a lot about Anchor already. Um it is a tablet application that links sailors and their loved ones um during deployment. So during deployment when there are times when there’s little communication, um it pulls media from a locked box—things they have prepared for deployment, um synthesizes a new message, even if there’s no data connection.”
  • 20. findings MAJOR SETTING SHIFTS Limitations of the prototype Worst case scenario Internalizing new perspectives
  • 21. findings MAJOR SETTING SHIFTS Limitations of the prototype “Jiao: But I’m not sure, and uh I was curious where you guys are only designing for American [inaudible]? Lisa: Um, well we designed this thinking about um, well—we—we made our target user people on deployment in the Navy or people on ships. Um and so this—I think this could be expanded to other military branches. Lisa: It doesn’t have to be the US, and also like people like migrant workers, where one of the first people who like popped into our head for ways to expand this. Um, so I don’t think it—it’s tied to an American population. I mean, that’s what we chose to be our—our starting point. But you can definitely—”
  • 22. findings MAJOR SETTING SHIFTS Worst Case Scenario “Paul: It might be a newer maybe newly diagnosed, it might be kind of jarring to like hear these stories of like, of people who’ve been having troubles as opposed to stories of people who have been living with it for a long time or people who’ve had like successful shared stories Emily: Yeah Paul: Versus like, oh crap, that was awful or something. Emily: Yeah, well, you know, that’s definitely one of the, I think one of the biggest problems with this is that it has potential to have really negative outcomes, too, because you know, if I am a African American gay male and I see the story of another African American gay male who was disclosing his status to his mother, and his mother you know called him a fag or something, and like you know, and—and he’s like, you know, is this going to happen to me? So I—that’s definitely something—[laughs]”
  • 23. findings MAJOR SETTING SHIFTS Internalizing New Perspectives “Paul: It feels like communicating the idea is kind of the same thing. Emily: Yeah, and this is kind of more like if you need support you have to ask for it rather than like— Paul: Yeah Emily: What you said with like going there and seeing like, this support is being offered.”
  • 24. findings ENDING THE CRITIQUE “Lisa: And you could cremate the person and put them in their real tree! [laughs] They would grow in it. Oh. Somebody posted on Facebook this thing where like you get cremated and then it’s essentially like, I don’t know, like a Chia pet for creation, and like you can—you can grow out of a tree or something. Jiao: Out of the tree [laughs]. How could it? We almost done—”
  • 25. findings ENDING THE CRITIQUE “Paul: Not really, I mean—anxious to see where it goes. Emily: Me too! [laughs] Awesome, thank you.”
  • 26. discussion Framing the problem space “Jiao: Yeah, and you know the topic then um we sort of call— have three or four two interviews with our participant who are [name redacted] and—and [name redacted]. They all lost their um relatives, especially for [name redacted]. [name redacted] lost her father um two years ago and it’s really painful for her, but that’s sort of a journey that we kind of—we don’t know much, because um of course we lost our um relatives or our friends, um so our topic was um how to—how to help people who lost their loved one in terms of terminal illness.”
  • 27. discussion Projecting user reactions “Lisa: OK, can the family members see what the terminally ill person is saying, or? Jiao: Yes, they can, but also, everyone who are going to post, they can select whether it is private or public. Lisa: Whenever it’s private, does that become public after you die? Jiao: Um, I don’t think so.”
  • 28. discussion Potential scenarios of use “Paul: You are, this is an emotional subject—[joking] but I think that might be the thing that—that it would offer is not necessarily like the end all be all solution of like getting these soldiers to tell their stories. Sometimes it might just be that knowledge that there’s something out there that people are coping with this. Emily: Yeah Paul: Um, whereas for other people it would be that sense of I—I need to like get assistance with this, and I need to tell somebody, because maybe I can’t tell it to anybody here. So what’s— Emily: Right Paul: I just need to put it out there.”
  • 30. limitations of the study Exploratory nature of the study Small number of participants A somewhat contrived critique environment
  • 32. next steps Larger-scale study exploring the emergence of informal critique Ethnographic methods to observe critique in a truly naturalistic context with self-selected participants Ongoing work to identify knowledge structures embedded in discourse and interactions
  • 33. references Anthony, K. H. (1991). Design juries on trial: The renaissance of Lincoln, Y. S. and Guba, E. G. (1985). Naturalistic inquiry. Sage the design studio. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold. Publications, Beverly Hills, CA. Boling, E., & Smith, K. M. (2010). Intensive studio experience in a Logan, C. (2008). Metaphor and pedagogy in the design non-studio masters program: Student activities and thinking practicum. International Journal of Technology and Design across levels of design. Montréal: Design Research Society Education, 18(1), 1-17. doi:10.1007/s10798-006-9009-x International Conference. Morton, J., & O'Brien, D. (2006). Selling your design: Oral Carspecken, P. F. (1996). Critical ethnography in educational communication pedagogy in design education. Communication research: A theoretical and practical guide. New York: Routledge. Education, 54(1), 6–19. doi:10.1080/03634520500076885 Cross, N. (2007). Designerly ways of knowing. Basel, Switzerland: Percy, C. (2004). Critical absence versus critical engagement. Birkhäuser. Problematics of the crit in design learning and teaching. Art, Design & Communication in Higher Education, 2(3), 143-154. Brandt, C.B., Cennamo, K., Douglas, S., Vernon, M., McGrath, M. and Reimer, Y. (2011). A theoretical framework for the studio as a Reimer, Y. J., & Douglas, S. A. (2003). Teaching HCI design with learning environment. International Journal of Technology and the studio approach. Computer Science Education, 13(3), Design Education. 191-205. Cennamo, K., Brandt, C., & Scott, B. (2010). Adapting the studio Schön, D. A. (1985). The design studio: An exploration of its to design-based disciplines: Research-Based strategies for traditions and potentials. London: RIBA Publications Limited. effective practice. In Proceedings of the 2010 conference on higher education pedagogy, Blacksburg, VA (pp. 14-5). Willenbrock, L. (1991). An undergraduate voice in architectural education. In T. A. Dutton (Ed.), Voices in architectural education: Dannels, D., Gaffney, A., & Martin, K. (2008). Beyond content, Cultural politics and pedagogy (pp. 97-119). New York: Bergin & deeper than delivery: What critique feedback reveals about Garvey. communication expectations in design education. International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 2(2). Do, E. Y. L., & Gross, M. D. (1996). Drawing as a means to design reasoning. In AI and design.
  • 35. coding scheme Codes Applied to Critic Codes Applied to Critiquee Association with User or Problem Space Identification of Problem Space Alternative Problem Space/Solution Limitations of Prototype Setting New Scenario (Based on Critique) Analyzing Potential User Reactions Support with Research Referencing Former Critique Replay Prototype Showing Off Prototype/Artifact Response to Worst Case Scenario Worst Case Scenario Potential User Scenario
  • 36. coding scheme Codes Applied to Critic Codes Applied to Critiquee Constructed Scenario Internalizing New Perspective Clarification (Interface) Request for Clarification Clarification (Idea) Caught Off Guard/Explanation Unsure/Confused Conflicted/Personal Drawing Parallels Parallels to Other Projects How to Proceed/Next Steps Next Steps/Self Critique Positive/Affirming Thanks Humor
  • 37. participants participants Participant Pseudonym Gender M.S. Year Country of Origin Paul M 2nd USA Emily F 2nd USA Lisa F 1st USA Jiao F 1st China

Editor's Notes

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  7. The designer should progress through different types of communication about design, including verbalization of design details using a narrative approach (Morton & O’Brien, 2006) and including transparency of design intent (Dannels, Gaffney, & Martin, 2008).\n
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