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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : Design

Postgraduate Course: Engaging through Action: Research strategies for people-centred design (DESI11096)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course will provide you with a comprehensive introduction to research strategies and methods involving designing through engagement with others, with a particular emphasis on people centred approaches relevant to product design and development. The course aims to provide you with a grounding of research methods and theory through practice based approaches.
Course description Generating concepts about future objects is central to product design and development. In this course, students will engage in practice led approaches to research appropriate to designing for others. The course aims to build a better understanding how to generate ideas and concepts witnessing various actions which engage people (self, users, clients, etc.) in order to compile behaviour-oriented data leading to new insights and perspectives on product use and utility.

The course is structured around understanding research about actions, but more importantly intends to develop an understanding of 'research through action'.
Three types of research actions are investigated over the course of the semester, where the designer/researcher engages the world through:
- the reflective nature of design research; observe yourself
- the ethnographic nature of design research; observe others
- the facilitative nature of design research; observe engagements between yourself and others

The course combines theoretical perspectives regarding these research actions, as well as practical workshops requiring students to construct situations which enable them to demonstrate the application of methods, relevant to a particular context.
The course introduces the use of artifacts as props and encourages the generative and iterative development of prototypes to illicit responses and behaviours, leading to insights and opportunities. Methods associated with visualisation, data reporting and concept development support students in developing appropriate design propositions, presented in video format, at the conclusion of the course.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate critical awareness of contemporary design themes and theories which drive appropriate practice-led product design research projects
  2. Critically compare relevant people-centred, action-based research methods through appropriate documentation in situated applications
  3. Communicate clearly and effectively through a variety of means how insights and findings from action-based research methods translate into product design opportunities leading to preferential futures
Reading List
Relevant Watching:
Eames, C., and Eames, R. (1972) Powers of 10 [Film]
Kitchen Stories [Film]

Relevant Reading:
Collins, H, (2010). Creative Research: The theory and practice of research for the creative industries. London: Thames and Hudson
Koskinen, I., et al. (2011). Design Research through Practice: From the field, lab and showroom. Waltham, MA: Elsevier
Manzini, E. (2015). Design, when everybody designs. Cambridge, MASS: MIT Press
Martin, B. & Hanington, B. (2010). Universal Methods of Design. Beverley, MA: Rockport Publishers
McCarthy, J., & Wright, P. (2015). Taking [A]part: The Politics and Aesthetics of Participation in Experience-Centered Design. Cambridge, MASS: MIT Press
Rodgers, P., and Yee, J. (eds). (2014) The Routledge Companion to Design Research. New York : Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group

Additional readings relevant to specific lecture content will be available directly through LEARN in advance.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Be open to new ideas, methods and ways of thinking
Be able to identify processes and strategies for learning
Be ready to ask key questions and exercise rational enquiry
Search for, evaluate and use information to develop their knowledge and understanding
Be able to respond effectively to unfamiliar problems in unfamiliar contexts
Be able to make decisions on the basis of rigorous and independent thought, taking into account ethical and professional issues
Keywordsdesign research methods,action research,participatory research,ethnography,people centred design
Course organiserDr Arno Verhoeven
Tel: (0131 6)51 5808
Course secretaryDr Eadaoin Lynch
Tel: (0131 6)51 5735
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