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Design Science Journal
Papers

The Question of Theory: A Coevolutionary Approach to Design Theses

The Question of Theory: A Coevolutionary Approach to Design Theses

Year: 2012

Section: Postgraduate Design Education

Editor: Lyndon Buck, Geert Frateur, William Ion, Chris McMahon, Chris Baelus, Guido De Grande, Stijn Verwulgen

Author: Barry Dean Wylant

Series: E&PDE

Institution: University of Calgary, Canada

Section: Postgraduate Design Education

Pages: 723-728

ISBN: 978-1-904670-36-0

Abstract

This paper addresses the use of theory within student efforts to complete design theses. Background sections outlining features of problem space and solution space are provided to contextualize and offer insights into the design thinking surrounding the consideration of information, research and theory within a given thesis or design process. The inherent pitfalls associated with the a priori framing of problems, or methodological approaches, are discussed as means of illustrating where the use of theory can benefit in circumventing these risks. To exemplify such insights, a series of student projects are presented. These are unique in that each uses a theoretical interest as a departure point to engage thesis research. At the outset, students do not know what thing/object/product they will eventually design. Rather the design response emerges from a considered understanding of the theoretical topic pursued, contextualized within a specific application or use situation, and identified as part of the process. As such these exercises demonstrate aspects of a discursive or dialogic approach to design, which in turn seems to foster a coevolutionary understanding of the design problem and design solution as the design effort unfolds.

Keywords: Design theory, problem space, solution space, coevolutionary design, design innovation

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ds conferenceE&PDE 2012: 14th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education

E&PDE 2012: 14th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design EducationThe 14th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE2012) will take place at the Department of Design Sciences, Product Development, Artesis University College Antwerp, 6-7 September 2012 with the theme "Design Education for Future Wellbeing". The conference is a unique opportunity for educators, practitioners, researchers and student in design-related areas to meet and exchange experiences in design education and future wellbeing. Artesis University College is...

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Design EducationTo bring together academics, designers, training professionals and others throughout the world who have an interest in design education at the tertiary level....

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SIG Workshop - March 2013