Exploring Fieldwork 2013

Exploring Fieldwork: A critical consideration of empirical methods and habits-of-mind in design research

April - October 2013

The course adresses the ´field´or site of ´method´in design-led research. Broadly, we are interested in exploring the back-and-forth interaction of research intentions and practices as these shape research putcomes (knowledge production).

Through close readings and tentative ´in situ´field observations (throughout the course the Ørestad city district in Copenhagen) the course will tackle the interplay between ontology and method, or ´habits of mind´and design research practice. In the course, we will critically explore and consider forms of observation, documentation and operationalization; principles such as deduction and induction; hypothesis and facts; causality and emergance etc. Specific emphasis will be placed on empiricisms or forms of empirical research compared to research including different forms of interference or experimentation in field situations.

The aim of the course is to investigate how ideas of empirical work and methodological standards associated with neighbouring fields might be applied to design research questions as well as to design research processes. By interrogating design research ´habits of mind´or the disciplining of thought through training and education, the goal is to generate questions concerning trans- and interdisciplinary work, divisions between various fields of knowledge, and methods used for the production of empirical ´facts´. An inquiry into these issues will enable the doctoral students to position themselves ontologically and methodologically relative to their own research practices, and articulate a standpoint of their own.

The course welcomes doctoral students from different fields of design and architectural research, including research in the arts, currently engaged in research activities that involve field work or site exploration.

The course is a collaboration between ResArc, D! – Swedish Faculty for Design Research and Research Education and SLU, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

For details, see the course description (pdf).