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"even were a design school to decide to teach more formal methods, we don't really have a curriculum that is appropriate for designers. Take my concern about the lack of experimental rigor. Suppose you were to agree with me - what courses would we teach? We don't really know. The experimental methods of the social and behavioral sciences are not well suited for the issues faced by designers.
Designers are practitioners, which means they are not trying to extend the knowledge base of science but instead, to apply the knowledge. The designer's goal is to have large, important impact. Scientists are interested in truth, often in the distinction between the predictions of two differing theories. The differences they look for are quite small: often statistically significant but in terms of applied impact, quite unimportant. Experiments that carefully control for numerous possible biases and that use large numbers of experimental observers are inappropriate for designers.
The designer needs results immediately, in hours or at possibly a few days. Quite often tests of 5 to 10 people are quite sufficient. Yes, attention must be paid to the possible biases (such as experimenter biases and the impact of order of presentation of tests), but if one is looking for large effect, it should be possible to do tests that are simpler and faster than are used by the scientific community will suffice. Designs don't have to be optimal or perfect: results that are not quite optimum or les than perfect are often completely satisfactory for everyday usage. No everyday product is perfect, nor need they be. We need experimental techniques that recognize these pragmatic, applied goals.
Design needs to develop its own experimental methods. They should be simple and quick, looking for large phenomena and conditions that are 'good enough.' But they must still be sensitive to statistical variability and experimental biases. These methods do not exist: we need some sympathetic statisticians to work with designers to develop these new, appropriate methods."
(Don Norman, 26 Nov 2010, Core77)
"The conventional model of science, technology and society locates sources of violence in politics and ethics, that is, in the application of science and technology, not in scientific knowledge itself.
The fact-value dichotomy is a creation of modern, reductionist science which, while being an epistemic response to a particular set of values, claims to be independent of values. According to the received view, modern science is the discovery of the properties of nature in accordance with a 'scientific method' which generates 'objective', 'neutral', 'universal' knowledge. This view of modern science as a description of reality as it is, unprejudiced by value, can be rejected on at least four grounds.
All knowledge, including modern scientific knowledge, is built through the use of a plurality of methodologies. As Feyerabend observes:
There is no 'scientific method'; there is no single procedure, or set of rules that underlines every piece of research and guarantees that it is 'scientific' and, therefore, trustworthy. The idea of a universal and stable method that is an unchanging measure of adequacy and even the idea of a universal and stable rationality is as unrealistic as the idea of a universal and stable measuring instrument that measures any magnitude, no matter what the circumstances. Scientists revise their standards, their procedures, their criteria of rationality as they move along and perhaps entirely replace their theories and their instruments as they move along and enter new domains of research (Feyerband, 1978, p. 98).
The view that science is just a discovery of facts about nature does not get support from philosophy either. If scientific knowledge is assumed to give true, factual knowledge of 'reality as it is', then we would have to 'conclude that Newtonian theory was true until around 1900, after which it suddenly became false, while relativity and quantum theories became the truth' (Bohm, 1981, p. 4)."
(Vandana Shiva, 1990)
1). Shiva, V. (1990). 'Reductionist science as epistemological violence'. 'Science, Hegemony and Violence: A Requiem for Modernity'. A. Nandy, Oxford University Press: 314.
Paul Feyerabend, Science in a Free Society (London: New Left Books, 1978).
David Bohm, Wholeness and the Implicate Order (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1981).