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05 JANUARY 2013

Epistemological Positions in Design Research

"The significance of acknowledging the differences between the aspects of these epistemologies is twofold; first it connects the theory of research to the practice of research and reveals the limits of truth claims in terms of objectivity, validity and generalisability. Second, Crotty's model emphasizes the necessity of remaining epistemologically consistent. Objectivist research must distinguish scientifically established objective facts from people's everyday subjective meanings. In turn, consistently constructionist research must place all meanings, scientific and non–scientific on an equal basis – they are all constructions, and none is truly objective or generalisable [sic]. The further one moves towards subjectivism, the greater the limits of the objectivity, validity and generalisablity of one's truth claims (Seale 1999). Being epistemologically aware requires that at each point in the research process we recognize that we make a variety of assumptions about human knowledge, the realities encountered in the human world and the interpretability of our findings."

(Luke Feast and Gavin Melles, 2010)

Feast, L. and G. Melles (2010). "Epistemological Positions in Design Research: A Brief Review of the Literature". Connected 2010 – 2nd International Conference on Design Education Sydney, Australia, University of New South Wales.

"Point of View" by Christopher Hassler []



2010academic communityassumptions • Charles Owen • Christopher Frayling • Clive Seale • constructionism • constructionist research • creative practice • Daniela Buchler • design educationdesign research • epistemological consistency • epistemological positions • epistemologies • epistemologyfindings • Fiona Candlin • Gavin Mellesgeneralisability • human knowledge • International Conference on Design Education • interpretability • Kees DorstKen Friedmanknowledge constructions • limits of objectivity • limits of truth claims • Luke Feast • Michael BiggsMichael CrottyNigel Cross • non-scientific meanings • objective • objectivist research • objectivity • practice of research • realitiesreview of literature • Roy Prentice • scholarly researchscientific methodscientifically established objective factssubjectivism • theory of research • truth claimsUniversity of New South Walesvalidity


Simon Perkins
25 JANUARY 2011

Communicating knowledge: How & why UK researchers publish & disseminate their findings

"The motivations that lead researchers to publish in different formats–particularly in scholarly journals–differ significantly across disciplines. Researchers in the sciences are more likely to see publication in a learned journal as a 'natural' means of communication with their desired audience, while their colleagues in engineering, the humanities and the social sciences are more likely to see it as meeting essentially external requirements for research assessment and career advancement.

In these latter disciplines, therefore, the rise of journals is more closely associated with an environment where there is increasing emphasis on measuring, assessing, and evaluating research, its outputs and impact."

(HEFCE on behalf of JISC, UK, 2009)



2009academic journalsassessmentaudience • career advancement • disciplinedisseminationfindingshumanitiesJISCjournal articleknowledgelegitimation • means of communication • measurementperformativityposterposter presentationpublicationpublishingRAEresearch • research assessment • research culture • research evaluation • research impactresearch outputresearcherscholarly journalssciencesocial sciencesUK


Simon Perkins
20 MAY 2010

Research: a process of investigation leading to new insights effectively shared...

"The proposals for a new approach to the assessment and funding of research – set out last year in the Higher Education Funding Council for England's consultation paper on the research excellence framework – have sparked more than a few rows.

Much of the conflict has revolved around whether or not the economic and social impact of research should feature in the regime that will replace the research assessment exercise. ...

Our starting point should be to remember that the RAE was deeply flawed. It was dominated by vested interests, was embarrassingly subjective and seriously undervalued those scholars who bridge the worlds of academe and practice.

The REF is, then, a major step forward from the RAE not least because it broadens the definition of research. To suggest, as the REF does, that research is 'a process of investigation leading to new insights effectively shared' invites all scholars to think afresh about how they communicate their research findings and to whom. ...

Yes, there are challenges in research impact assessment. New thinking, around, say, research 'possibilities' is needed. But once academics recognise that research findings should be 'shared', we have made a significant step forward. By definition we are now discussing research impact or, at least, potential research impact.

However, the intellectual argument relating to research impact, rather like the debate about the expansion of university public engagement activities, goes much deeper than a discussion of how scholars can improve the manner in which they communicate with different audiences – important as this is.

Rather it concerns a reshaping, for some disciplines at least, of the way scholarship is conceived. It heralds a move towards the notion of 'engaged scholarship'. Many UK academics – medics are a classic example – are already actively engaged with stakeholders outside the campus in the process of defining research questions and co–producing new knowledge.

This is not to suggest that all scholars should be 'engaged scholars' – indeed, that would be a bad thing. But the research impact debate can open up the possibility of broadening the definition of scholarship."

(Robin Hambleton, 4 February 2010, Times Higher Education)


2010 • a process of investigation leading to new insights effectively shared • assessing impact • definition • discoveryengaged scholarsengagementenquiryfindingsHEHEFCEHigher Education Funding Council for Englandimpactmeasurement of impactmetricspublishingRAEREFresearchResearch Excellence Frameworkresearch fundingresearch outputscholarshipsharingUK


Simon Perkins

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