Design Research Methods class notes. 2007
Parsons School of Design | School of Design Strategies
About making things simpler
∙••••• Part of sociology
∙••••• Trying to understand people through the eyes of those people. Based on spending time w/ them you begin to find patterns that you can extrapolate.
∙••••• Have a concept first → go test it in the world.
∙••••• All about telling stories (not just data & numbers)
∙••••• Con: Not very quick turn over of results
∙••••• Pro: Very complex and rich
∙••••• Are not valid in the social science world
∙••••• But they are real.
∙••••• because they come from a persons life.
Data – something that is out there in the world like noise. Something you can observe.
Information – information is when data gets meaning and has value. When it says something you care about. Analyzed data, or patterns in data.
Primitive terms –
Derived terms – an expansion on primitive terms. Built on derived terms.
∙••••• ex: letters are primitive terms. When you put them together in a word, the word is the derived term…derived from letters,
Concepts – are when things have meaning.
Pattern – something that is recognizable that you can pull out of the data and turn it into information.
Random – information that has no discernable pattern. Noise.
Archetype - a series of patterns that we recognize.
Attributes – characteristics that make objects similar or different.
Reliability – predictability. If you can repeat or predict something – it’s reliable.
∙••••• Need to repeat tests.
∙••••• If it can’t be repeated w/ same results it’s not reliable, you jumped to conclusions
o If you flip a coin, it will land on heads, or tails…or it’s edge.
Validity – truth. It has to represent the real world.
∙••••• You can’t have validity w/ out reliability.
∙••••• It is what you want to be the truth.
∙••••• But ultimately you can never prove things.
∙••••• no hypothesis – only disprove things…never prove things
∙••••• if it’s not reliable it’s not valid.
Intervening variables –
Heuristic – short cut… we know makes sense.
Operational definition –
Domain - made of dimensions
Dimensions - the way of measuring things, but not the measurement itself.
∙••••• Dimension – length
∙••••• Increment – inch
∙••••• Some dimensions are parallel, some dimension are orthogonal.
∙••••• Some dimensions:
Continual – can infinitely be divided into subdivisions
“Carter proposed an object is ‘anything that exists psychologically for a person.’”
Reading – Airport::
∙••••• Tactics used – to convey information to reader:
o Easy to read titles
o Common language used.
o Important to capture the language.
o Give travelers’ tales – interesting to read
o A lot of editing - Condensed information from one year into 8 pages.
▪▪▪▪▪▪▪ Where is the line between data & information
▪▪▪▪▪▪▪ How to apply to audience?
HW: read:: agency of mapping- james corner
∙••••• General concept of mapping
∙••••• 4 different types of mapping in detail
take 1 hour: same time as last one.
Hold at least three of the dimensions constant (one being time)
Add new dimensions.
Collect the data
Present it to yourself.
Lay new data on top of previous data
Create analysis on how they differ/compare the two.
Taxonomy – classification
Donald Normal - The Design of Everyday Things
How a person interacts with the objects around them on an individual basis
He is very much about efficiency. Not about experience.
∙••••• ex: a video game is not meant to be efficient (finish it as quickly as you can), rather it’s about fun and the experience of the game.
Seven Stages of Action
∙••••• Forming the goal
∙••••• Forming the intention
∙••••• Specifying an action
∙••••• Executing the action
∙••••• Perceiving the state of the world
∙••••• Interpreting the state of the world
∙••••• Evaluating the outcome
Recall memory –
Recognition memory –
Watching TV is a learned thing.
We translate the use of visual images into 3d concepts. (Dogs do not understand that, but they understand the audio).
Design + Management
making things that are intuitively explicit
-emphasis on doing, not planning.
∙••••• Paul garege
Do: critique what you did after reading fedderman reading.
∙••••• Video ethnography of Hinds vs. Maiz.
∙••••• Top 10 things you’d do differently.
10 Things to do differently:
ethnography – the art and science of describing a group or culture.
∙••••• And their interaction in those groups
Applied and exploratory – for a specific reason or out of curiosity.
Embodied Interaction: Exploring the Foundations of a new Approach to HCI
path dependence –
Select Level Creation
Select Line Creation
zone:: when you were learning to write you used to look at the top line, the bottom line and the mid line and think “is my b to tall?.” But now you don’t think about it, when you write you flow.
not just what we’re observing, but the process of us observing it.
Sigma Six Blackbelt
∙••••• Bring to class week by week for critique
∙••••• Speed dating
Endless mill –
Ant behavior – example of emergent behavior/ground up design.
Social facilitation – the tendency for people to be aroused into better performance on simple tasks (or tasks at which they are expert or that have become autonomous) when under the eye of others, rather than while they are alone (audience effect), or when competing against another (coactor effect).
Agency – about getting something done
Instrumentality – the dynamic behind agency, the force behind it. Having the power to do something.
Types of Maps:
Drift – taking an existing mapping and putting your version out there.
∙••••• Biased, always about you.
Layer – a map that has more than one layer of information
Game-Board – two things“meet on a shared working surface” and “ ‘play out’ various scenarios’”
Rhizomatic Map –
∙••••• Allowing whatever order exists to emerge from below.
∙••••• Not forcing the data into place.
Tracing & mapping
∙••••• Tracing – is what’s there
∙••••• Mapping – when you start abstracting it and making sense of it.
London Underground map is not a tracing.
∙••••• It does not accurately display the distance btwn one stop to another
∙••••• But all the rider needs to know is the order of stops, not the actual distance.
Levels of analysis – looking at diff levels/scales of information
∙••••• What resolution are you focusing on
∙••••• ex: cellular level, personal level, diatic level (two people), group level, societal level, national level.
Unit of analysis – what your studying, what you’re measuring
∙••••• ex: if checking votes, the unit of analysis would be the way people vote.
Increment – how you’re measuring, with ways of dividing dimensions
∙••••• ex: increments: McCain or Obama
∙••••• ex: dimension – happiness
∙••••• height :: dimension
∙••••• inches:: increment
∙••••• unit:: Sam
∙••••• level of analysis:: individual
Agency of Mapping info:
forum – structure of things in our world
forces – dynamics that shapes our world and the forces in them.
induction – if you want to elicit a particular result by constructing the situation.
∙••••• acting as a stimulus
∙••••• involved in the action
deduction – picking out parts of a pattern and associating it w/ past know information
∙••••• back from the action only viewing.
∙••••• The Michell Theorem -
∙••••• similar to layering map
∙••••• what methods can you use to map abstract concepts/forces?