Monday, 2 March 2009

Why Do We Need Doctoral Study in Design?

I picked up this link to the following paper from an email from the Interaction Design community.
Why Do We Need Doctoral Study in Design? by Meredith Davis of North Carolina State University, North Carolina, USA.

Due to the death of a close family member in January I feel I have lost some research momentum. I have been doing a lot of reading, note-taking and annotating but of course I am not seeing any reward of application yet. It was in this context that I thought this paper could help to contextualise and re-focus what I should be doing.

The paper was US-focused and on reading it I found that the sections I found really useful were pages 1 - 4: Introduction and New Paradigms for Design Practice. After this the paper analyzes the results of a study which began to lack direct relevance for me.

In the bibliography I found five further sources to read that I will soon source (see below). I will add this paper to my annotatedBib blog soon and record its main relevances for future reference. Here I will simply list for now some of the main points of interest to me from these five sources.

Toward a model of innovation by H. Dubberly (2008) presents an organic, system-based approach to design thinking that shifts the process of design to experience away from objects. In doing so the scope of design influence can broaden "within larger and more complex social, cultural, physical, economic and technical systems."

Everyware: The dawning age of ubiquitous computing by A. Greenfield (2006) may prove beneficial as some background reading.

Convergence culture: Where old and new media collide by H. Jenkins (2006)is cited in connection with how "peoples sense of agency or control of outcomes" is a consequence of media convergence. I have read Henry Jenkins previous paper on narrative architecture that will prove useful in the future.

Design methods: Seeds of human futures by C. Jones (1970) discusses the hierarchy of design problems, and that "design action must address an intricate web of connections among people, activities, objects and settings."

Acting with technology: Activity theory and interaction design by Nardi and Kapetlinin (2006) may prove interesting. But right now I will hold judgment until I have read it fully. The reason I say this is that Davis (2008) summarizes the position of activity theory, and ends with a statement "our research strategies have to go beyond testing actions and operations in human factors labs and asking questions in focus groups that separate people from the settings in which relevant behaviour takes place". I wish to turn to the source to clarify the actual relevance of activity theory on interaction design.


DAVIS, M. (2008, Dec 31) Why Do We Need Doctoral Study in Design?. International Journal of Design [Online] 2:3. Available:

DUBBERLY, H. (2008) Toward a model of innovation. Interactions, 15(1), pp. 28-36.

GREENFIELD, A. (2006) Everyware: The dawning age of ubiquitous computing. Berkeley, CA: New Riders.

JENKINS, H. (2006). Convergence culture: Where old and new media collide. New York: New York University Press.

JONES, J. C. (1970). Design methods: Seeds of human futures. New York: Wiley-Interscience.

NARDI, B., & Kapetlinin, V. (2006). Acting with technology: Activity theory and interaction design. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

No comments: