Last week I enjoyed a few days in Spain teaching design research to teachers from the Escola D’Art i Superior de Disseny de Valencia (EASD). Around 80 teachers and experienced professionals from Graphic Design, Product Design, Textile Design, Fashion Design, Photography and Art attended the three sessions of the course:
- Session 1: What is design research?
- Session 2: How can I conduct an investigation?
- Session 3: How can I analyse and organise the collected data?
Each session provided key phases, tools, and activities to start getting familiar with academic research, and particularly with researching in the context of design.
The research process was introduced as a six-phase process starting with the definition of a research theme or topic and followed by the definition of a research question. The next phases were focused on defining the methodological strategy and learning ways to collect data. The final two phases tackled ways to analyse collected data, and key aspects involved in the writing-up and presentation of results. Other core components of the research process, including ‘how to structure an abstract’ and ‘how to determine an action plan’ were also discussed in the course. In each session, activities helped attendees start putting theory into practice by applying the new concepts.
The first session introduced the concept of research in the context of design, and discussed main research approaches (research into/through/for) and types of investigations (quantitative, qualitative). When unpacking how to determine a methodological strategy, we reviewed key quantitative (e.g. questionnaires, surveys) and qualitative methods and tools (e.g. types of interviews, types of ethnographic studies, think aloud, workshops). After that, we covered the most important steps for data analysis (organisation, coding, analysis), and finished with a review of research project structures and the academic writing style. Information design principles were introduced as a tool for organising, coding and analysing literature, and textual and visual materials, but also to structure ideas and thinking.
Classes were very active involving lively discussions, challenging questions, and many research project ideas with loads of potential. Many thanks to the school for inviting me to deliver this course and for the lovely stay in Valencia. Looking forward to learning how the research projects evolve!
Muchas gracias al EASD y ISEACV por grata hospitalidad durante mi estancia en Valencia.