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Verbalization of Design Thinking through Informal Peer Critique


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Critique has long been considered a vital part of the design studio pedagogy, but formal critique is emphasized in the literature in lieu of peer critique. I examined the verbalization of design thinking through informal peer critique utilizing interviews and a constructed critique dyad. Analysis includes the comparison of a participant’s auto-critique to their peer dyad critique, and resulting changes in the way they talk about their designed artifact.

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Verbalization of Design Thinking through Informal Peer Critique

  1. 1. Verbalization ofDesign Thinkingthrough InformalPeer Critique Colin M. Gray November 2, 2012
  2. 2. backgroundInformed by exploratory study onstudent experiences of design pedagogy(Gray, in review; Willenbrock, 1991)In reaction to research codifying theformal critique process (Anthony, 1991)
  3. 3. backgroundPeerBetween members of the same academicprogram—in close proximity in terms ofexperience and statusInformalNot bounded by a traditional classroomenvironment or professor/programrepresentation
  4. 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?
  5. 5. review ofliterature
  6. 6. literatureExisting research on critiqueDesk crits (Reimer & Douglas, 2003; Boling & Smith, 2010)Formal critique (Anthony, 1991; Percy, 2004)
  7. 7. literatureLink of informal critique with reflectionSelf-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)
  8. 8. context
  9. 9. contextHuman-Computer Interaction design (HCI/d) program in theSchool of InformaticsHCI/d Master’s students (first and second year)
  10. 10. dataStudents (4—2 dyads)Three stage data collection:1. One hour interview about beliefs2. One hour constructed critique dyad3. One hour stimulated recall session
  11. 11. methods
  12. 12. methodsNaturalistic Inquiry (Lincoln & Guba, 1985)Critical theory (Carspecken, 1996)Intensive interview and observation strategies were used totarget beliefs and behaviors related to critique that were largelytacit in natureObservation of critique between study participants allowed for amore naturalistic view into the behaviors and strategies in situ.
  13. 13. analysisCoding of emergent themesSequence analysis of critique participantsSeparate themes for critic (the person leading the critique) andthe critiquee (the person being critiqued)
  14. 14. findings
  15. 15. findingsMajor discursive structures of the peer critique processwere identified:Beginning the critiqueMajor setting shiftsEnding the critique
  16. 16. findings BEGINNING THE CRITIQUE“Jiao: Um, this is a workbook one, definitely on the topic of um—death”
  17. 17. findings BEGINNING THE CRITIQUE“Emily: OK, alright. So, this is a—well you’ve already seen this inclass, but I’ll OK—this is a prototype that I made for mycapstone project. Um, I am focusing on newly diagnosed HIV+individuals and um through a lot of research, I’ve kind of gotteninto the topic of identity development, um kind of just acceptingthe fact that they are HIV+…”
  18. 18. findings BEGINNING THE CRITIQUE“Lisa: You probably know a lot about Anchor already. Um it is atablet application that links sailors and their loved ones umduring deployment. So during deployment when there are timeswhen there’s little communication, um it pulls media from alocked box—things they have prepared for deployment, umsynthesizes a new message, even if there’s no data connection.”
  19. 19. findings MAJOR SETTING SHIFTSLimitations of the prototypeWorst case scenarioInternalizing new perspectives
  20. 20. findings MAJOR SETTING SHIFTSLimitations of the prototype“Jiao: But I’m not sure, and uh I was curious where you guys are onlydesigning for American [inaudible]?Lisa: Um, well we designed this thinking about um, well—we—we madeour target user people on deployment in the Navy or people on ships. Umand 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 migrantworkers, where one of the first people who like popped into our head forways to expand this. Um, so I don’t think it—it’s tied to an Americanpopulation. I mean, that’s what we chose to be our—our starting point.But you can definitely—”
  21. 21. findings MAJOR SETTING SHIFTSWorst Case Scenario“Paul: It might be a newer maybe newly diagnosed, it might be kind of jarring to like hearthese stories of like, of people who’ve been having troubles as opposed to stories of peoplewho have been living with it for a long time or people who’ve had like successful shared storiesEmily: YeahPaul: 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 problemswith this is that it has potential to have really negative outcomes, too, because you know, if Iam a African American gay male and I see the story of another African American gay male whowas disclosing his status to his mother, and his mother you know called him a fag orsomething, 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]”
  22. 22. findings MAJOR SETTING SHIFTSInternalizing New Perspectives“Paul: It feels like communicating the idea is kind of the samething.Emily: Yeah, and this is kind of more like if you need support youhave to ask for it rather than like—Paul: YeahEmily: What you said with like going there and seeing like, thissupport is being offered.”
  23. 23. findings ENDING THE CRITIQUE“Lisa: And you could cremate the person and put them in theirreal tree! [laughs] They would grow in it. Oh. Somebody postedon Facebook this thing where like you get cremated and then it’sessentially like, I don’t know, like a Chia pet for creation, and likeyou can—you can grow out of a tree or something.Jiao: Out of the tree [laughs]. How could it? We almost done—”
  24. 24. findings ENDING THE CRITIQUE“Paul: Not really, I mean—anxious to see where it goes.Emily: Me too! [laughs] Awesome, thank you.”
  25. 25. discussionFraming 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 theirum relatives, especially for [name redacted]. [name redacted] losther father um two years ago and it’s really painful for her, butthat’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, umso our topic was um how to—how to help people who lost theirloved one in terms of terminal illness.”
  26. 26. discussionProjecting user reactions“Lisa: OK, can the family members see what the terminally illperson 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 youdie?Jiao: Um, I don’t think so.”
  27. 27. discussionPotential scenarios of use“Paul: You are, this is an emotional subject—[joking] but I think that might be the thingthat—that it would offer is not necessarily like the end all be all solution of like gettingthese soldiers to tell their stories. Sometimes it might just be that knowledge thatthere’s something out there that people are coping with this.Emily: YeahPaul: Um, whereas for other people it would be that sense of I—I need to like getassistance with this, and I need to tell somebody, because maybe I can’t tell it toanybody here. So what’s—Emily: RightPaul: I just need to put it out there.”
  28. 28. limitationsof the study
  29. 29. limitations of the studyExploratory nature of the studySmall number of participantsA somewhat contrived critique environment
  30. 30. next steps
  31. 31. next stepsLarger-scale study exploring the emergence of informal critiqueEthnographic methods to observe critique in a truly naturalisticcontext with self-selected participantsOngoing work to identify knowledge structures embedded indiscourse and interactions
  32. 32. referencesAnthony, K. H. (1991). Design juries on trial: The renaissance of Lincoln, Y. S. and Guba, E. G. (1985). Naturalistic inquiry. Sagethe 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 designnon-studio masters program: Student activities and thinking practicum. International Journal of Technology and Designacross levels of design. Montréal: Design Research Society Education, 18(1), 1-17. doi:10.1007/s10798-006-9009-xInternational Conference. Morton, J., & OBrien, D. (2006). Selling your design: OralCarspecken, P. F. (1996). Critical ethnography in educational communication pedagogy in design education. Communicationresearch: A theoretical and practical guide. New York: Routledge. Education, 54(1), 6–19. doi:10.1080/03634520500076885Cross, 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 withlearning 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 itsto design-based disciplines: Research-Based strategies for traditions and potentials. London: RIBA Publications Limited.effective practice. In Proceedings of the 2010 conference onhigher 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. InternationalJournal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 2(2).Do, E. Y. L., & Gross, M. D. (1996). Drawing as a means to designreasoning. In AI and design.
  33. 33. questions?
  34. 34. coding scheme Codes Applied to Critic Codes Applied to CritiqueeAssociation with User orProblem Space Identification of Problem SpaceAlternative Problem Space/SolutionLimitations of Prototype Setting New Scenario (Based on Critique)Analyzing Potential User Reactions Support with Research Referencing Former CritiqueReplay Prototype Showing Off Prototype/Artifact Response to Worst Case ScenarioWorst Case Scenario Potential User Scenario
  35. 35. coding scheme Codes Applied to Critic Codes Applied to CritiqueeConstructed Scenario Internalizing New PerspectiveClarification (Interface) Request for ClarificationClarification (Idea) Caught Off Guard/ExplanationUnsure/Confused Conflicted/PersonalDrawing Parallels Parallels to Other ProjectsHow to Proceed/Next Steps Next Steps/Self CritiquePositive/Affirming ThanksHumor
  36. 36. participants participantsParticipant Pseudonym Gender M.S. Year Country of Origin Paul M 2nd USA Emily F 2nd USA Lisa F 1st USA Jiao F 1st China