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What is design? : an empirical investigation into conceptions of design in the community of design stakeholders

Micklethwaite, Paul Hilton (2002) What is design? : an empirical investigation into conceptions of design in the community of design stakeholders. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

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    This thesis describes a project investigating conceptions of design in the community
    of design stakeholders. A 'democratization of design' is identified, in terms of a
    widened mode of design engagement. The origins of the project are located in the
    accompanying observation that 'design means different things to different people'.

    The project has three aims: (i) to establish the contemporary UK context for the
    social study of design; (ii) to expand upon the identified theme of the democratization
    of design; and (iii) to empirically investigate conceptions of design in the community
    of design stakeholders. The first two aims are fulfilled through a review and
    discussion of existing secondary sources. The third aim is fulfilled by primary
    research, in the form of an empirical interview study conducted with design
    stakeholder informants.

    The interview study embodies an interpretative phenomenological theoretical
    perspective, and employs qualitative research method. A theoretical sample of 31
    interview informants was drawn from five design stakeholder groups: Business;
    Designers; Education; Promotion; Users. Conceptions of design within the collected
    interview data are investigated through a template analysis.

    An analysis of collected interview data is presented in the form of an holistic map or
    'template' of the data organized by thematic discussion of 'design'. These empirical
    findings are presented and discussed narratively and graphically. A total of 41
    interrelating 'conceptions of design' are identified.

    Empirical findings are synthesized with the response to aims (i) and (ii). This
    generates two main final research outcomes: firstly, a degree of informant scepticism
    and ambivalence is apparent towards the heightened political, cultural and economic
    profile for design; secondly, the democratization of design is seen as a worthy ideal,
    but one which is difficult to realize. In conclusion, a number of further implications of
    the project are also discussed.

    Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
    Additional Information: EThOS Persistent ID
    Uncontrolled Keywords: Qualitative research, Art, Philosophy, Religion, Sociology, Human services
    Subjects: N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
    B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
    N Fine Arts > NC Drawing Design Illustration
    Schools: School of Art, Design and Architecture
    Depositing User: Graham Stone
    Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2009 11:20
    Last Modified: 28 Jul 2010 19:38

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