"The realization that the phenomena we confront are always richer than the abstractions we use to explain them is central to a Goethean approach. This realization is the expression of a two-fold awareness or sensitivity that Goethe points to with his expression 'delicate empiricism' (Goethe, 1829, in Miller, 1995, p. 307). First, we experience a phenomenon (a mouse, a wooded swamp, a range of blue hills in the distance, or the clouds moving across the sky) as a kind of fullness that calls forth wonder, curiosity, questioning. We want to get to know it better, or as Goethe states it radically, 'become utterly identical with it' (ibid.). This is empiricism, because we orient all our striving around the phenomena themselves. A phenomenon is what meets the eye but we also experience it is as something more, as a kind of surface that is pregnant with a depth we may be able to plumb. But we realize that we will not fathom these depths with models and theories, which more likely than not will lead us away from the phenomenon itself."
(Craig Holdrege, 2005)
Craig Holdrege Summer 2005, 8.1. 'Doing Goethean Science' Janus Head.
"Currently, our best theories are limited in terms of their applicability to design. However, we cannot retreat into the easy empiricism of current usability perspectives where everything is measured in terms of effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction. Theory building must occur if we are to have long term impact and the diversity of experiences users can have with technology are not simply reduced to these operational criteria. We need to stretch our conception of interaction beyond performance and simple likes/dislikes. I argue for a richer sense of user experience, one that allows for aesthetics as much as efficiency and the creation of community discourse forms over time as much as the measurement of effectiveness in a single task. There is much work ahead but unless we embrace these issues as part of our research agenda, then the study of HCI will forever be piecemeal and weak, and its results will find little positive reception among the many designers and consumers who could most benefit from them."
Dillon, A. (2001) Beyond usability: process, outcome and affect in human-computer interactions. Canadian Journal of Library and Information Science, 26(4), 57-69.
[Dillon argues for a richer sense of what constitutes web usability and resists the easy empiricism espoused by most usability engineers.]
"Designerly ways of knowing, reflection in action/reflection on action, tacit knowledge, the language of things etc. The theoretical dimension of design research is usually described in numerous and various ways that tend to subsume in elegant formulas the complex relationships between designers and thinkers. Many design research bibliographies show a tendency to overquote a set of common references that could be perceived as the doxa of design research - either in the French theory (Deleuze, Baudrillard), or in the fashionable sociology of systems (Latour, Tarde) or the pragmatic approach (Schön, Simon, Dewey).
The Swiss Design Network one-day Symposium of 2011 Practicing Theory aims at understanding what are the real theoretical contexts of designers practicing design research, how these theoretical backgrounds are formed, explored and broaden, and what use is made of them in the everyday practice of a research project in design. Not only will we seek to understand where from designers think, but also in what directions their research could possibly push the activity of thinking. The aim is not to re-design the ideal library of design thinking, but on the contrary to interrogate the dialog that design research establishes with the historical discourse disciplines such as philosophy, sociology, semiotics or cognitive theories."
(Genève, University of Art and Design Geneva, 2011)