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29 JUNE 2013

The (UK) National Institute for Health Research

"The mission of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is to maintain a health research system in which the NHS supports outstanding individuals, working in world class facilities, conducting leading edge research focused on the needs of patients and the public. ...

Since its establishment in April 2006, the NIHR has worked with key partners involved in the different elements of NHS research to transform research in the NHS. It has increased the volume of applied health research for the benefit of patients and the public, driven faster translation of basic science discoveries into tangible benefits for patients and the economy and developed and supported the people who conduct and contribute to applied health research."

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TAGS

2006 • applied health research • basic science • clinical medicineclinical researchDepartment of Healthhealth • health research • leading edge research • medical practicemedical research • National Institute for Health Research • NHS • NIHR • patientpatient care • patient needs • primary careresearch • Research for Patient Benefit • research funding • RfPB • Sally Davies • tangible benefits • UK

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
24 FEBRUARY 2013

Theory construction problems in design research

"Until recently, the field of design was an adjunct to art and craft. With the transformation of design into an industrial discipline come responsibilities that the field of design studies has only recently begun to address.

This transformation means that design is becoming a generalizable discipline that may as readily be applied to processes, media interfaces or information artefacts as to tools, clothing, furniture or advertisements. To understand design as a discipline that can function within any of these frames means developing a general theory of design. This general theory should support application theories and operational programmes. Moving from a general theory of design to the task of solving problems involves a significantly different mode of conceptualization and explicit knowledge management than adapting the tacit knowledge of individual design experience.

So far, most design theories involve clinical situations or micro–level grounded theories developed through induction. This is necessary, but it is not sufficient for the kinds of progress we need.

In the social sciences, grounded theory has developed into a robust and sophisticated system for generating theory across levels. A 'grounded' theory is an inductive theory emerging or rising from the ground of direct, empirical experience. These theories ultimately lead to larger ranges of understanding, and the literature of grounded theory is rich in discussions of theory construction and theoretical sensitivity (Glaser 1978, 1992; Glaser and Strauss 1967; Strauss 1991; Strauss and Corbin 1990, 1994).

One of the deep problems in design research is the failure to engage in grounded theory, developing theory out of practice. Instead, many designers confuse practice with research. Rather than developing theory from practice through articulation and inductive inquiry, some designers mistakenly argue that practice is research. From this, they claim that practicebased research is itself a form of theory construction."

(Ken Friedman, 2008, pp.153–154)

Ken Friedman (2008). "Research into, by and for design." Journal of Visual Arts Practice Volume 7 Number 2. Intellect Ltd. Article. English Language. doi: 10.1386/jvap.7.2.153/1

TAGS

2008 • Anselm Strauss • application theories • art and craft • Barney Glaser • Christopher Fraylingclinical researchclinical situationsconceptualisationdesign disciplinedesign fielddesign researchdesign studies • design theories • Donald Schon • empirical experience • empirical-analyticexplicit knowledge • general theory of design • generalisabilitygenerating theorygrounded theoryHerbert Read • individual design experience • inductive enquiryinductive reasoning • inductive theory • Journal of Visual Art Practice • Juliet Corbin • Ken FriedmanMichael Polanyi • micro-level grounded theories • Nigel Cross • pamphlet • Peter Bergerpractice-based research • research by design • research by or through designresearch for design • research into design • research through designsocial sciencestacit knowledge • theoretical sensitivity • theory building • theory construction • Thomas KuhnThomas Luckmann

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
12 FEBRUARY 2013

UK Arts & Humanities Research Council: A Definition of Research

"research activities should primarily be concerned with research processes, rather than outputs. This definition is built around three key features and your proposal must fully address all of these in order to be considered eligible for support:

It must define a series of research questions, issues or problems that will be addressed in the course of the research. It must also define its aims and objectives in terms of seeking to enhance knowledge and understanding relating to the questions, issues or problems to be addressed

It must specify a research context for the questions, issues or problems to be addressed. You must specify why it is important that these particular questions, issues or problems should be addressed; what other research is being or has been conducted in this area; and what particular contribution this project will make to the advancement of creativity, insights, knowledge and understanding in this area

It must specify the research methods for addressing and answering the research questions, issues or problems. You must state how, in the course of the research project, you will seek to answer the questions, address the issues or solve the problems. You should also explain the rationale for your chosen research methods and why you think they provide the most appropriate means by which to address the research questions, issues or problems.

Our primary concern is to ensure that the research we fund addresses clearly–articulated research questions, issues or problems, set in a clear context of other research in that area, and using appropriate research methods and/or approaches.

The precise nature of the research questions, issues or problems, approaches to the research and outputs of the work may vary considerably, embracing basic, strategic and applied research. The research questions, issues, problems, methods and/or approaches may range from intellectual questions that require critical, historical or theoretical investigation, to practical issues or problems that require other approaches such as testing, prototyping, experimental development and evaluation. The outputs of the research may include, for example, monographs, editions or articles; electronic data, including sound or images; performances, films or broadcasts; or exhibitions. Teaching materials may also be an appropriate outcome from a research project provided that it fulfils the definition above.

The research should be conceived as broadly as possible and so consideration should also be given to the outcomes of, and audiences for, the research. The outcomes of the research may only benefit other researchers and influence future research, but consideration must be given to potential opportunities for the transfer of knowledge into new contexts where the research could have an impact.

Creative output can be produced, or practice undertaken, as an integral part of a research process as defined above. The Council would expect, however, this practice to be accompanied by some form of documentation of the research process, as well as some form of textual analysis or explanation to support its position and as a record of your critical reflection. Equally, creativity or practice may involve no such process at all, in which case it would be ineligible for funding from the Council."

(Arts and Humanities Research Council)

TAGS

academic research • accompanying documentation • advancement of creativity • AHRCapplied researchartwork and exegesisbasic researchclinical researchcontribution to knowledge • creative output • critical investigationcritical reflection • definition of research • experimental development • historical investigation • impact and engagement • knowledge and understandingknowledge transfer • new contexts • new insights • problem for action • problems to be addressed • prototyping • record and reflect • research activities • research aims and objectives • research context • research impactresearch methodsresearch outcomeresearch processesresearch projectresearch questions • strategic research • testingtextual analysis • theoretical investigation • transfer of knowledgeUK

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
26 MAY 2005

Research designs: basic, applied, clinical

"an important distinction that is employed by universities as well as corporate and governmental funding agencies. From the perspective of the type of problem addressed, research may be clinical, applied, or basic. ... Clinical research is, as the name suggests, directed toward an individual case. ... Clinical research focuses on the problem for action that the designer faces. To solve a particular, individual design problem, it is essential to gather whatever information or understanding may be relevant in its solution....applied research is directed towards problems that are discovered in a general class of products or situations. ... The common trait of applied research in design is the attempt to gather from many individual cases a hypothesis or several hypotheses that may explain how the design of a class of products takes place, the kind of reasoning that is effective in design for that class, and so forth. The third type of research is basic. It is research directed towards fundamental problems in understanding the principles–and sometimes the first principles–which govern and explain phenomena."
(Richard Buchanan, 2001)

[2] Buchanan, R. (2001). 'Design Research and the New Learning.' Design Issues 17(4, Autumn): 10, 17–18.

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