Design Research and the five-legged dog

Year: 2003

Author: Eddison, Antony, Dickinson, Michael

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

In design there are several ways of defining 'research' and there exist several traditions as to how research should be carried out and to what degree research training should be given. From a developing personal perspective, this paper examines some these issues. The ideas have evolved over the past few years following many discussions with colleagues and those involved in both research training and professional practice, undergraduate and postgraduate students of design and perceptions from those working in disciplines other than design in the UK, Europe and Australia.

Some of these issues are then set in the working context of the discipline of design at The University of Newcastle that now finds itself within a new school that includes the discipline of Information Technology, the school being one of five that make up a new Faculty of Science and Information Technology. These alliances provide for many opportunities, however there are many inherent issues, particularly at RHD level where knowledge and methodology has a tradition of being viewed from a scientific perspective.

The paper makes reference to a parallel situation in the very recent past from a QAA Subject Review of a similar school at a university in the UK with which the author was closely involved.

The paper concludes with a call for greater ongoing communication between schools of Art and Design in Australia on their research activities and issues and proposes a catalyst project that may well be of assistance in this.