What is Research By Design? Some pointers

10,979 views

Published on

This presentation was prepared for the course 'Methodology for Urbanism' 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) and tries to understand and explain "research by design" at TU Delft. We consider that there are several problems with "research by design". The main problem is the lack of common definition. Each researcher/designer seems to use the expression in a different way. This makes it impossible to convey ideas about research by design to an external audience. Students also face problems, because they are generally unable to explain the actions or steps connected to research by design. The beginning of the process is particularly difficult: does research by design tackle an assignment coming from somewhere else? Is there an initial question to be answered? What does you want to "know" when you do research by design?

Published in: Education, Technology

What is Research By Design? Some pointers

  1. 1. What’stheroleofdesign inacademicresearch? DelftUniversityofTechnology,TheNetherlands&UniversityofHertfordshire,UK RobertoRocco, basedonBiggsandBuchler(2008) Lookingforparameterstoassessacademicvaluein design-basedresearch Delft University of Technology U URBANISM SPS atialPlanning&StrategyTUDelft
  2. 2. Whatisresearch?… RESEARCHistypicallydefinedasa systematicinvestigationonasubjectthat generallyleadstotheproductionof explicitknowledge,addingtotheexisting bodyofknowledgeaboutthesubject.
  3. 3. WhatisResearch?
  4. 4. Genericcriteria Biggs&Buchler,2008 Question(andanswer) Method Knowledge Audience 4 Question Answer Methods Butrememberthedifferent logicsofenquiry! BIGGS,M.&BUCHLER,D.2008.EightCriteriaforpractice-basedresearchinthecreativeandculturalindustries.Art,DesignandEducationinHigherEducation,7.
  5. 5. waystodoresearch Weassumethatacademic researchcanbedoneusing traditionaland non-traditionaltools.
  6. 6. Traditionalformsofresearch Ascientificmethod,whichisthebaseof anytraditionalformofresearch, consistsofthecollectionofdata throughobservationand experimentation,andtheformulation andtestingofahypotheses.
  7. 7. Traditionalformsofresearch TRADITIONALformsofresearchinclude,for example,thecollection,organisationand analysesofdataleadingtothesubstantiation ordisprovalofapreviouslystatedhypothesis. Itcanalsoleadtothediscoveryofunexpected newmodels.
  8. 8. Attributesofscientificresearch:CUDOS Merton’sScientificNorms* Communalism Universalism Disinterestedness *Merton,R.TheNormativeStructureofScience,1942
  9. 9. Attributesofscientificresearch:CUDOS Merton’sScientificNorms* Originality Skepticism(OrganizedSkepticism) *Merton,R.TheNormativeStructureofScience,1942
  10. 10. Non-traditionalformsofresearch •Useofvisualmedia,suchasvideoandphotographyandnewwaysof visualisationandrepresentation •Useofnewtechnologies(trackingtechnologies,GIS,3-Dcartography, realtimemapping) •Experienceresearch(anthropology) •“Actionbased”research •Designledinvestigationandinvention
  11. 11. Nontraditionalformsofresearch… mightbecomparabletoscientificmethods because: Theymightbeconductedinasystematic wayaimingatansweringaresearch question,proveordisproveahypothesis Theymightleadtonewknowledgeandadd totheexistingbodyofknowledge
  12. 12. contributionofdesignto academicresearch Thecontributionofdesignpracticeto academicresearchcanbebest describedasaspectrumwithtwo extremepoles,withalongandvariable combinationsbetweenthetwo.
  13. 13. 1. Exploratorypracticewithinthetraditional modelofacademicresearch 2. Practiceasgeneratorofrelevantquestions exploredwithinstructuresprovidedby traditionalmodelsofacademicresearch 3. Problematicviewthatclaimsthatdesign practiceISacademicresearch contributionofdesignto academicresearch
  14. 14. Problemswithresearchbydesign Nontraditionalresults(non-textual)thatarethe outcomeofRbDmighthavethefollowinglimitations: • Incommensurabilitywithtraditionalresults • Experientialcontent:itgoesagainstthenotionof generalizabilityoratleasttransferabilityof research • Lackofshareddefinitionsofscientificcriteria
  15. 15. Lackofsharedcriteria ThequestionofresearchbydesignisCIRCULAR: Ifcriteriaaredevelopedfromactualcase studies,itisdifficulttosubsequentlyuse thosecriteriaasdefiningcharacteristicsof researchbecausetheyareinfluencedbythe casestudiesthemselves,whichcouldnot havebeenfilteredwithoutusingthecriteria.
  16. 16. confusing? 16 Trythis:youcannotknowsomething,if thecriteriayouarecomingupwithcome fromthatsamesomething.
  17. 17. CircularityinthequestforsharedcriteriainPbR
  18. 18. Lackofsharedcriteriawith traditionalresearch Itdoesnotrespondtoagroupof expandedcriteriathatis compatiblewith,andcomparable to,thoseheldintraditional formsofresearch.
  19. 19. Non-explicitknowledge Ifvisualrepresentationisnotinterpreted (throughtraditionaltextualanalysis),and knowledgeisnotmadeexplicit,wewilllack parameterstojudge,asses,useanddisseminate theknowledgeproduced,especiallywhenit comestoconveyingnewknowledgeacross differentcommunitiesofpractice.
  20. 20. Backtothebasics Therefore,thereisaneedtogobackto fundamentalsbeforemakingclaimsregardingthe benefitsofRbD. Thisfundamentalapproachwouldaskstructural questionsabouttheessentialnatureofresearch, ensuringthatRbDiscomparableinrigorandvalue toscholarshipproducedwithtraditionalforms ofresearchandcommunicationofknowledge.
  21. 21. SpecifitiesofUrbanDesign UrbandesignCANbesubjecttoscientificevaluationmethods(ante- andpost-occupationanalysis,environmentalimpactanalysis, financialfeasibilityandsustainability,spatialanalysis,like SpaceSyntaxandVisibility,etc) inreallife,Urbandesignissubjecttopoliticalandeconomical constraints Thereisaconsistentcollectionofbasictechnicalrulesonurban design(e.g.idealwidthofstreets,materialresistance,optimal occupationratesofplots,etc). BUTTHISISNOTTHEPOINT
  22. 22. Whatisthepoint? Cantheproductofspatialdesign (thedesignitself)beconsidered KNOWLEDGEfollowingbasic criteriausedintraditional research?
  23. 23. RbDassub-groupofacademic research weseeRbDasasub-groupofacademic research. Thismeansthatitdoesnotneedtotallynew criteriaofassessment,buttheexisting criteriaforassessingacademicresearch mustbeenlargedandinterpreted.
  24. 24. UKCGE’sproposal Tobroadenthetraditionalscientificmodel(formation andtestingofahypothesis),redefiningitsgeneral terms,theUKCGEproposesthefollowing parameters: 1.Theacquisitionofrelevantdata 2.Theexerciseofcriticalandanalyticalskills 3.Sustainedandcoherentargumentation 4.Clarityinpresentationandcommunication UKCouncilforGraduateEducation
  25. 25. HertfordshireProposal:
 necessaryandsufficientcriteriaforacademicresearch
 Criterionbasedassessment •Dissemination (Communication+Impact) •Originality •Context
  26. 26. Dissemination •Researchmustinfluencetheactionsofothers practioners:Theoppositescenarioisonewhere everyoneisconstantlyre-inventingthewheel,which isnoteffective. •Researchshouldmakegenerationofknowledgemore efficient.Bysharingknowledge,weallowthe creativeenergiesofco-researcherstobeappliedto moreadvancedtopics. •ResearchisthereforeaCUMULATIVEprocess,evenifone rejectsthe[Modernist]notionofitbeingprogressive.
  27. 27. Communication&Impact •Researchmusthaveatargetaudience.Thereisno guaranteethatthisaudiencewillrecognisethe researchassuch.However,itismoreprobablethatthe research willimpactontheaudienceifitis communicatedthroughaneffective(oriented)channel. •Theaudienceisfirstlythecommunityofresearch, becausebysharingknowledgewiththemwecan maximisethedevelopmentofthefield.
  28. 28. Originality Researchmustresultinsomething originalthatwasnotknownor interpretedinthiswaybefore Knowledgemustbeknewfortheaudience andnotonlyfortheresearcher
  29. 29. Context Researchmustbecontextualisedbecause 1. Byplacingoutcomesinacriticalcontext,the researchercontributestotheargumentin defenseoforiginalityandsoundness 2. Theresearchermakesclearthewayinwhich theknowledgedevelopsororiginatesfrom existingmodesofunderstanding
  30. 30. Impactandrelevance Knowledgemustbedisseminated. Disseminationmeansnotonlyputting theworkoutintheworld,butalso doingsoinaTARGETEDway,soitreaches anaudienceforwhomitis CONSEQUENTIAL.
  31. 31. Originalityandcontext Theaudiencewillonlyrecognizeoriginalityifthey arefamiliarwith,orarepresentedwith,a CONTEXTinwhichoriginalitybecomesapparent andagainstwhichtheresearchcanbevalidated. Thiscontextisthetheoreticalframeworkinwhich researchmustexist.
  32. 32. Thanksforwatching! Anyquestions?Pleasewriteto: RobertoRocco Chairspatialplanningandstrategy DepartmentofUrbanism delftuniversityoftechnology r.c.rocco@tudelft.nl presentationbasedonBIGGS,M.&BUCHLER,D.2008.EightCriteriaforpractice-based researchinthecreativeandculturalindustries.Art,DesignandEducationinHigher Education,7. 32

×