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Designing Research

  • Module code: DE7300
  • Year: 2018/9
  • Level: 7
  • Credits: 30
  • Pre-requisites: None
  • Co-requisites: None

Summary

Designing Research lectures and seminars are designed to enable you to rationalise and focus on thematic approaches to problem finding and problem solving. The aim of this module is that through knowledge of existing conventions and the development of your personal visual vocabulary, you will be able to make practical use of your ideas, perceptions and discoveries, and to work effectively and creatively with reference to a wider inter-disciplinary and cultural context.

The integrative programme of study encourages you to develop a personal and critical point of view through recording, documentation and evaluation of ideas from within your discipline and from the wider interdisciplinary environment, and apply those findings within project work.

The Designing Research module introduces and develops a range of analytical tools with which to interrogate designed objects and artefacts, and makes links between analytical and propositional methods - creating a framework within which to structure self-initiated project proposals. Practical research methods are explored, with an emphasis on the development of creative, rational and effective approaches to visual experimentation and critical reflection on practical design work within a logical and measurable framework. The aim of this module is to provide understanding of the wide ranging methods and tools that are available to inform and support the development of your practical study and to provide the basis of your further study on the course.

Aims

  • To further develop the student's understanding of the role of research methods within their own practice as a designer.
  • To further develop the application of visual design methodology in the production of student's practice.
  • To reinforce the role of critical thinking, making and reflection within the student's individual practice.
  • To further develop the student's skills and abilities in presentation.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the rationale and application of design research methods within project work and supporting developmental materials.
  • Evidence in project work an understanding of the range of appropriate disciplinary and interdisciplinary research methods available to the designer/researcher.
  • Demonstrate the effective application of design research methods in formulating concepts and ideas through the exploration of principles, processes, materials, forms and technologies.
  • Engage in the critical reflection of own work and in peer review in relation to research methods in design, employing skills of evaluation, contextualization, empathy, communication and presentation.

Curriculum content

  • What is Research?: Thesis, process, audience, method, testing, iteration, evaluation and reflection, praxis. The language of research.
  • Designing Methods: Problem Finding. How to construct a programme of research: Data collection, compilation and analysis, qualitative and quantitative methods of analysis and design testing.
  • Tools for Visual Research: The Visual Audit -Typologies and organizing research.
  • The Research Record: Documenting research and the research process
  • Materials Research.
  • Research and the body.
  • Social Research.
  • Researching the visual.
  • Design as exhibition/artefact/process.
  • Design Project and supporting visual summary

Teaching and learning strategy

This Module is primarily lecture-based but is supported by course based seminars, subject tutorials and critiques. You will be expected to take an active role in group discussion and debate during these sessions. The module is structured around a series of key interdisciplinary lectures that will inform and help them to develop their individual disciplinary approach. Individual project work produced within their course will result in a group exhibition work drawn from across a number of courses.

The module will make use of the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) Canvas for communication and dissemination of information between students and staff as well as making online learning materials available to all. Students should check this site on a daily basis for module information, timetables, sign-ups, updates and additional information following individual project sessions.

All courses based in the Kingston School of Art offer students free access to the online video tutorial platform Lynda.com. This provides a wide range of subjects to choose from, many with downloadable exercise files, including software tutorials covering photography, graphics, web design, audio and music, CAD and Microsoft Office software, as well as courses on Business and Management skills. Some of these are embedded in the curriculum and offer additional self-paced learning, others may be taken at will by students wishing to broaden their employability skills in other areas.

Research Folder: Throughout the module, students should initiate and progress their work by using a research folder. This will allow them to work through and demonstrate their conceptual processes. The Research Folder may include imagery from sketchbooks or notebooks, which should be used to generate ideas, to record textual, contextual and visual research, to analyse, test ideas and to reflect upon each stage of the project.

Seminars and tutorials: Students should aim to produce visual work consistently and they will show this at timetabled seminar meetings and at subject tutorials, where they will share their ideas with their tutor and the group. Crucially, they must ensure that they always bring presentable work to these meetings and that it should concisely convey what they have been doing.

Formal Critique (Crit) Presentations: Crit presentations are timetabled into all modules. At these meetings students will present their work to peers and tutors for specified time periods and receive formative feedback. These meetings are pivotal points in the module, offering them the opportunity to summarise the work they have done and the work they plan to do in a focused, clear and communicative manner.

Feedback /Feedforward: Ensure that students write down or record feedback, references and information given to them at seminars, crits and subject tutorials. Feedback can be seen as continuous 'formative assessment' and students should use it to inform their own self- evaluation and critical reflection.

In summary, the module will be made up of:

Student Learning Activities:

  • Enquiry
  • Exploration
  • Experimentation/Testing
  • Conceptualisation
  • Realisation/Presentation/Documentation
  • Critical reflection

Teaching methods include:

  • Lectures
  • Tutor-led/group-led project discussions
  • Staff and visiting lecturer/speaker presentations
  • Presentations to peers

Breakdown of Teaching and Learning Hours

Definitive UNISTATS Category Indicative Description Hours
Scheduled learning and teaching Lectures, Seminars, Workshops 75
Guided independent study 225
Total (number of credits x 10) 300

Assessment strategy

Formative assessment: The process of formative assessment involves tutor and peer review of students' presentations of work and its subsequent revision on the basis of feedback/feed-forward. Typically these will take place on a weekly basis during the course of the module.

Summative assessment: Summative assessment occurs on completion of the module and is based on the extent to which the student has met the learning outcomes for the module.

For this module students will submit:

  • Element 1 - containing the outcome of a research-based design project which might take the form of an illustration, graphic document or three dimensional piece suitable for exhibition
  • Element 2 - is a research project folder, containing the visual summary of the supporting research and leading to the outcome.
  • Element 3, contains the 500 word critical reflection of the research, development and outcome.

Mapping of Learning Outcomes to Assessment Strategy (Indicative)

Learning Outcome Assessment Strategy
1. Demonstrate an understanding of the rationale and application of design research methods within project work and supporting developmental materials. Formative: Individual presentation of project folders including development work at tutorial, seminar and critique. Summative: The three Elements including outcome, research, development and critical reflection.
2. Evidence in project work an understanding of the range of appropriate disciplinary and interdisciplinary research methods available to the designer/researcher. Formative: Individual presentation of project folders including development work at tutorial, seminar and critique. Summative: The three Elements including outcome, research, development and critical reflection.
3. Demonstrate the effective application of design research methods in formulating concepts and ideas through the exploration of principles, processes, materials, forms and technologies. Formative: Individual presentation of project folders including development work at tutorial, seminar and critique. Summative: The three Elements including outcome, research, development and critical reflection.
4. Engage in the critical reflection of own work and in peer review in relation to research methods in design, employing skills of evaluation, contextualization, empathy, communication and presentation. Formative: Individual presentation of project folders including development work at tutorial, seminar and critique. Summative: The three Elements including outcome, research, development and critical reflection.

Elements of Assessment

Description of Assessment Definitive UNISTATS Categories Percentage
Element 1 : Exhibition Piece Coursework 45%
Element 2 : Visual Summary Coursework 45%
Element 3 : 500 word critical reflection Coursework 10%
Total (to equal 100%) 100%

Achieving a pass

It is not a requirement that any element of assessment is passed separately in order to achieve an overall pass for the module.

Bibliography core texts

Potter, N. (2002). Things, Places, Messages. Hyphen Press London

Schon, D. A. (1991). The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think in Action.  Routledge.

Collins, Hilary. (2010) Creative Research: The Theory and Practice of Re­search for the Creative Industries. ava academia

Cross, Nigel (2011) Design Thinking: Understanding How Designers Think and Work. Bloomsbury.

Emmison, M. & Smith P. (2000) Researching the Visual: Introducing Qualitative Methods. Sage.

Fletcher, Alan (2001) The Art of Looking Sideways. Phaidon.

Lawson, Bryan, (2005). How Designers Think; The Design Process Demys­tifed. London: Architectural Press

Noble, I. & Bestley, R. (2011) Visual Research - an Introduction to Research Methods for Graphic Designers, Worthing, AVA Academia

Robson, Colin (2011) Real World Research. John Wiley & Sons.

Rose G, (2001) Visual Methodologies: An Introduction to the Interpretation of Visual Material, London: Sage

Bibliography recommended reading

Chapman, J. (2015) Emotionally Durable Design: Objects, Experiences and Empathy. Routledge

Crow, D. (2003) Visible Signs - an Introduction to Semiotics, Worthing: AVA Academia

Barthes R, (1977) Image, Music, Text. Fontana

Clarke, M. (2007) Verbalising the Visual: Translating Art and Design into Words. ava academia

Frascara J, (1996) User-Centred Graphic Design, Taylor & Francis

Galenson, D. (2006). Old Masters and Young Geniuses; The Two Life Cycles of Artistic Creativity. Princeton University Press

IDEO (2015) The Little Book of Design Research Ethics.

Kress G and van Leeuwen T, (1996) Reading Images, London: Routledge

Lefteri, C. (2007) Materials for Inspirational Design. Rotovision

Lefteri, C. (2012) Making It: Manufacturing Techniques for Product Design. 2nd Edition. Laurence King

Lupton L & Abbott Miller J, (1996) Design, Writing, Research - Writing on Graphic Design, London: Phaidon

Norman Donald A, (2013) The Design of Everyday Things, London : MIT Press

Parsons, T. (2009) Thinking: Objects. Contemporary approaches to prod­uct design. ava academia

Poynor R, (2003) No More Rules-Graphic Design and Post-Modernism, London: Laurence King

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