On Method: the problem of objectivity

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Abstract

In this paper I shall criticise the notion of objectivity in design research methodology. I shall argue that the requirement for such objectivity is either implicit in the phrasing of research degree regulations, or is widely assumed in their interpretation. The philosophical error is the assumption that objectivity is either methodologically possible or desirable. I raise four temptations for the research student: the apparent benefits of the scientific method, objectivity and knowledge, objectivity in aesthetics, and objectivity in PhD examination. In each case I raise objections that question whether objectivity has really been achieved, and whether the method can be applied in design research. I conclude that the appropriateness of any method is demonstrated by the validity of the outcomes it produces as judged in context by subject peers, and not by tests based on false or unachievable notions of objectivity or universality.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDoctoral Education in Design
Subtitle of host publicationFoundations for the Future
EditorsDavid Durling, Ken Friedman
Place of PublicationStoke-on-Trent
PublisherStaffordshire University Press
Pages209-214
ISBN (Print)1-897898-64-9
Publication statusPublished - 2000

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