University of Hertfordshire

By the same authors

The solution that works

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

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  • 903892

    Accepted author manuscript, 183 KB, PDF document

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Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPride and Predesign
Subtitle of host publicationthe Cultural Heritage and the Science of Design
EditorsE Corte-Real, C Duarte, F Carvalho Rodrigues
Place of PublicationLisbon
PublisherInstituto de Artes Visuals Design e Marketing
Pages377-382
ISBN (Print)972-98701-3-6
Publication statusPublished - 2005

Abstract

In The Reflective Practitioner (1991), Schön describes an iterative process of question-forming and solution-finding. One of the judgements that the practitioner makes is whether a solution ‘works’. This concept is not fully unpacked by Schön, but a sceptical reading might lead to the conclusion that the concept relies on a researcher-dependent value and function analysis which would reinforce the worst charges of subjectivism. This would be a weak reading of the concept. This paper proposes a strong reading of this common art and design concept: ‘the solution that works’ It results from the observation that there is a necessary and reciprocal relationship between the research question, the method, the solution, the audience, and the context in which they are located. This relationship is also highlighted in so-called Mode 2 (cf. Gibbons, M. et al (eds.), The New Production of Knowledge, 1994) but is here considered particularly in relation to art and design. The paper proposes that the practical procedure of solution and audience finding must occur in reverse order. The issue of what constitutes a solution to a problem depends on the perception of the nature of that question by the audience. Indeed, not all questions would be regarded as meaningful or legitimate by them, and so the identification of this actual or hypothesised audience is the primary consideration in the design of a research project. From this, the paper argues, the meaningful question and the range of possible meaningful responses can be determined. Finally the method that connects the question to the range of responses or solutions can be determined. Only once this network of relationships has been established can the project be designed and the iterative ‘reflective practice’ described by Schön be operated so that a contribution to the peer group is made by a consequential outcome.

Notes

reprinted as: ‘The Solution that Works’ in: Salmi, E. and J. Lantto Cumulus Working Papers 14/05, Helsinki: University of Art and Design, 2005 44-49. ISBN 951-558-185-0, ISSN 1456-307X http://www.uiah.fi/cumulus

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