Enabling the Post-Graduate Development of Enhanced Research Methodologies and Analytical Models for Primary Research

DS 62: Proceedings of E&PDE 2010, the 12th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education - When Design Education and Design Research meet ..., Trondheim, Norway, 02.-03.09.2010

Year: 2010
Editor: Boks W; Ion, W; McMahon, C and Parkinson B
Author: Lawson, Stuart Michael
Page(s): 504-508


De Montfort University’s Design Products department has recently expanded both its research activities and its taught postgraduate programmes. Whilst much of the staff’s research broadly informs the curriculum, key aspects of this output have a significant impact on the new MDes Design Products Programme and in particular the Level 6 Research for Design (RfD) Module. This 15-credit component was created to advance the students’ understanding of research methodologies through both theory and practice-based study. The module’s teaching is primarily focused on user-centred goals and has a particular emphasis on social and behavioural research, encompassing observational and interview-based studies, ethnography, user groups and trend forecasting. The module’s learning outcomes enable students to gain insights and an advanced understanding of people and behaviour that facilitates the creation of innovative and user-centred new products. This paper offers an analysis of the curriculum and the teaching strategies employed within the Research for Design Module which support students in developing enhanced research methodologies and analytical models for the examination of qualitative and quantitative research data. Key activities within the module include: (1) A seminar-based project that seeks to analyse the methods and outcomes of a departmental study which established, through ergonomic and user-centred enquiry, changes to working environments brought about by developments in technology and working practices. (2) A primary research and seminar-based project that engenders student reflection on the effectiveness of their own and their peers’ applied research and analysis strategies through the
interrogation of each others’ methods, theories and conclusions.

Keywords: Research methodologies, ergonomics, user-centred design, pedagogy


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