In October, all full time staff in the Faculty of Design and Architecture presented current research projects in a one day symposium. My presentation was titled 'Elaborate Books: alternate approaches to disseminating design research', the abstract follows:
Research Question / Area
How could emerging formats (ePublications, apps, hybrid books, enhanced archives, print/digital hybrid editions) be used to disseminate design research?
Scholarly research is primarily reported in writing. Journals and books sometimes include accompanying illustrations (diagrams, photographs, reproductions) but for the most part, an argument is made through the written text. Yet for practitioner-researchers, writing is not always the most effective way to communicate our research process or findings (let alone conduct research in the first place).
New forms of disseminating research are being explored in both commercial publishing and in other academic disciplines that engage with creative practice. Companies like TouchPress are breaking ground with a new format that is somewhere between an eBook and an app (www.touchpress.com). Internally, FASS has an ePub series in development called MediaObject, as a way of disseminating research that foregrounds creative work, in an easily sharable format. As yet, the potential for these new forms/formats to effectively report design research has not been explored in any depth.
Research Methods / Practice
Contextual Survey: An ongoing survey of specific projects and new formats that could be useful models for conducting and reporting design research.
Practice: A series of projects in which I ‘report’ different kinds of content, in different forms, and reflect on the process and outcomes (reflective practice). For examples, see: www.pagescreenstudio.com
Research Findings / Outcomes
I aim to find/create alternate ways for practitioner-researchers to disseminate their research practice and findings. The outcomes will be a series of ‘elaborate books’ (this is a term I’m toying with for the as-yet unnamed format used by TouchPress and other publishers). The research will potentially be reported in more traditional journal articles or books.
Significance of research for the field
Expanding the way design researchers think about disseminating their research, with concrete examples of options other than journal articles or books.