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12 JANUARY 2014

Reflective writing: a basic introduction

Reflection is an exploration and an explanation of events–not just a description of them.

Genuinely reflective writing often involves 'revealing' anxieties, errors and weaknesses, as well as strengths and successes. This is fine (in fact it's often essential!), as long as you show some understanding of possible causes, and explain how you plan to improve.

It is normally necessary to select just the most significant parts of the event or idea on which you're reflecting. ... If you try to 'tell the whole story' you're likely to use up your words on description rather than interpretation.

It is often useful to 'reflect forward' to the future as well as 'reflecting back' on the past.

(Martin Hampton, Department for Curriculum and Quality Enhancement, University of Portsmouth)

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TAGS

academic skills • academic writingcritical explanation • descriptive commentary • explicit knowledgeexploration oriented design processhow-to guidesinductive reasoninginformal languageinterpretation of experiencelearning guides • Martin Hampton • naming and rehearsal • ongoing progress • ongoingness • personal diary • post-hoc analysis • practice narratives • practising professional • professional developmentreflective bloggingreflective journalreflective practitioner • reflective thinking • reflective writing • social interdependence theory • structured method • structured writing • structuring reflective writing • theory buildingtheory-in-use • think reflectively • thinking through writing • University of Portsmouth • vocabulary aid • writing

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
16 MARCH 2013

Complex representations not simple quantified measurement

"Primarily because of its association with achievements in the physical sciences, quantified measurement seems a step toward enhanced precision. But, precision, as understood here, means more than reliability and validity; it also requires appropriately complex representation of the target construct. In phenomenological terms, precision refers to the distinctiveness that fosters reliability, the coherence that assures validity, and the richness that is appropriate to the targeted phenomenon. First, distinctiveness is the extent to which a phenomenon is discriminable from others. Judgments about distinctiveness require more than explicit (e.g., operational) definitions. They require the capacity to anticipate attributes that remain implicit in even the most explicitly conceived phenomenon and, on the basis of those implicit meanings, to consistently verify that phenomenon's presence or absence. Second, coherence is the extent to which judgments about the attribute structure of a particular phenomenon are congruent. Short of logical entailment but beyond associative contingency, judgments about coherence require consideration of both the explicit and implicit meanings of the attribute structure they describe. Third, richness is the extent to which judgments about a phenomenon capture its complexity and intricacy. Richness entails full differentiation of a phenomenon's attributes, identification of its attribute structure, and appreciation of its structural incongruities."

(Don Kuiken and David Miall, 2001)

[4] profiles and the ideal prototype. This numeric assessment of degree involves profiles of attributes rather than individual attributes. Although we appreciate the potential importance of the latter (see note 3), we have not attempted to address the analytic problems that arise from the combination of nominal and ordinal variables in estimates of profile similarity. It should be noted, however, that some available software facilitates the assessment of ordinal information during attribute identification (cf. KUCKARTZ 1995; WEITZMAN & MILES 1995). The possibility of coordinating ordinal and nominal attribute judgments deserves further consideration.

Kuiken, Don & Miall, David S. (2001). "Numerically Aided Phenomenology: Procedures for Investigating Categories of Experience." [68 paragraphs]. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 2(1), Art. 15, http://nbn–resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114– fqs0101153.

TAGS

2001academic journalappropriately complex representation • associative contingency • coherencecomplexity • David Miall • differentiation • discriminable • distinctiveness • Don Kuiken • Eben Weitzman • explicit definitionsexplicit knowledgeexplicit meaningexplicit objectivesexplicitly definedForum Qualitative Social ResearchFQSimplicit informationimplicit meaning • implicitly • imprecision • intricacyinvestigative praxis • judgments • logical entailment • Matthew Miles • online journaloperational criteriaoperational definitionsphenomenologicalphenomenonphysical sciencesprecisionqualitative researchquantification of variablesquantified measurementreliabilityreliability and validityrich descriptions • richness • structural incongruities • target construct • targeted phenomenon • Udo Kuckartz • validity

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
04 NOVEMBER 2009

Research into, by, and for Design

"Rendering the tacit explicit is a crucial act of communication that shapes research and the research cultures we build in any field. Only by articulating what we know in some way do we enable others to take it in and adapt or adopt it as their own knowledge. The complaint of novice scholars in design research that we are 'privileging the text' in a way that somehow devalues design has it all wrong. Only through explicit communication do we help others to access our knowledge so that they may themselves transform what would otherwise be the raw data of artefact or experience into information on which they may act to create knowledge. (This involves a series of issues and distinctions I don't propose to elaborate here. I have discussed the nature of knowledge and the distinctions among data, information, and knowledge elsewhere, f.ex., in Friedman [1998] or Friedman and Olaisen [1999])."

(Ken Friedman 21 September 2008)

TAGS

art and designartefactartistic practiceChristopher Fraylingconceptualisationcreative practicedesigndiscoveryembodyenquiryexplicit knowledgeKen Friedmanknowledge • Nabble • PhD • PhD design • privileging the text • researchtacit knowledgetheory building

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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