"I'm more bothered by the underlying assumptions about what makes good university teaching that lie behind many of these surveys. You can see them particularly clearly in the National Student Survey, and the reams of student feedback it publishes online - explicitly, so it says, to help prospective students choose a good course, and to help universities 'enhance the student learning experience'. ...
OK, I can see how at first sight that might seem obvious. Who, after all, wants to see their kids go off to university, at great expense, for a diet of dis-satisfaction? But, from where I sit, dissatisfaction and discomfort have their own, important, role to play in a good university education. We're aiming to push our students to think differently, to move out of their intellectual comfort zone, to read and discuss texts that are almost too hard for them to manage. It is, and it's meant to be, destabilizing.
At the same time, we're urging them never to be satisfied with the arguments they are presented with, never to take things on trust, always to challenge, always to see the weak points, or to want to push the argument further. Then along comes the National Survey, treats them as consumers, and asks them if they're satisfied."
(Mary Beard, BBC News, 2 December 2012)
"To date, there is no definitive published single source on research methods for artists and designers. The following methods are drawn from a range of sources, most importantly from validated completed formal research in Art and Design (main sources: ARIAD – www.ariad.co.uk; British Library’s Index to Theses – www.theses.com, Higher Education institutes’ published information), as well as useful examples of research projects in non-formal frameworks (for example, industry, commerce, education, and so on) as reported in various journals and professional publications. An examination of some of these examples would no doubt lead to ‘classic’ references to various ‘design methods’ publications by, for example, Archer (1965), Jones (1980), Cross (1984), and so on; and important research by Cornock (1978, 1983, 1984) on Fine Art methodology. During recent years, many more examples of practice-based research have become accessible. Many have already been cited in previous chapters and more are cited in this one.
These methods are particularly useful if your own practice forms part of the research methodology.
Other methods described come from Social Science research, for example www.sosig.ac.uk (accessed 15 August 2003); Denzin and Lincoln (1994); and some specifically from educational research, for example Cohen and Manion (1994), McKernan (1998). These are particularly relevant for human inquiry related to Art and Design, for example the study of an individual’s practice, and user feedback for designed products. In some circumstances, particular areas of design, for example industrial design, a more scientific approach may be appropriate, in which case ‘design methods’ may be useful. Documented examples of projects using design methods can be found in the journal Design Studies – www.elsevier.nl/locate/destud (accessed 16 June 2003). The range of methods outlined is by no means definitive or completely comprehensive, and they cannot be described here in any great detail. If you think that a particular method described in this book would be useful in your project then you should discuss it with your supervisor. You should always follow up the references and examples given in order to appreciate the context in which the method was used. As you become more familiar with various methods you will realize the kind of tasks involved in applying them. Once you have identified these tasks, build them into your plan of work. Research methods development relies on researchers (including you!) adding further detail and modifying as a method is tried and evaluated."
(Carole Gray and Julian Malins, 2004, pp.104- 120)
[Gray and Malins outline the selection and use of common practice-led/practice-based research methods including: Practice; Photography, Video, 3D Models/maquettes, Reflective journal/Research diary, Audio reflection, ‘Sweatbox’, Case study, Interview, Questionnaire, Personal constructs.]
1). Carole Gray and Julian Malins (2004). "Visualizing Research ", Ashgate.
"Visual imagery is used frequently in most design processes. Eidetic imagery, related to the power of visualization of objects previously seen or imagened, is one of the visual imageries. In this study, we tried to find 'eidetikers' (persons who possess this eidetic power) in students who majored in industrial design. 114 university students answered the questionnaire about image used in daily life, 15 of 114 participated in 'eidetic imagery test'. The test identified 4 of the 15 students as 'eidetikers'. They reported some eidetic images in this test. In the interview after the test, they reported that they had tendency to be occupied in imagination in their daily lives, and were favour of drawing pictures in comparison with a noneidetic person. Principal component analysis of the questionnaire data also suggests that a person's imagination in daily life generally indicates whether he/she is eidetic or not. Finally this study indicates that, in the industrial design course, there are many students who have had eidetic-like experiences in the past."
(Shimada Kumi & Masuyama Eitaro, Takushoku University)
"As graphic designers we often use the power of image to persuade, convince, reveal or to construct a contextual stage for messages. A great deal of research and consideration goes into this process of deciding what type of imagery will best convey our ideas. As visual thinkers we are accustomed to deciphering the distinctions created by color, form, scale, etc. By cropping away information or altering an images color we can more effectively represent our ideas. All of this, of course, assumes our decisions are correct, that they will elicit from the audience the desired response. But how often do we evaluate these visual decisions after the creative process has concluded? What happens to our work after it is released for public consumption?
In regard to politics the use of image is used to associate personalities with issues, display concern or patriotism and of course create negative associations as well. Notice the recent trend of political speeches in front of a backdrop of issue words or phrases such a 'economic growth' or 'healthcare.' How well do these efforts succeed? More importantly, how visually literate is the general public in terms of detecting and interpreting what they see?
Visual Ideology is an effort to raise awareness to the use of images in messaging. Given the choice, what images would the general public associate with specific ideas or words? How can one image be more meaningful than another similar image? This project asks viewers to to make decisions as to images that best represent their visual definition of political terms or ideas. During this process it is hoped that viewers will begin to develop a better understanding of how visual imagery can influence meaning. By placing the responsibility of making these visual decisions with the viewer they get to experience a part of graphic design. As graphic designers, we get to see how self defined political personalities might be visually represented. Though not necessarily a ideological map, this project will hopefully offer some insight as to how differing political personalities interpret visual information."