Title: User-centred research methods in postgraduate teaching

Authors: C.S. Lebbon, S. Davies, J. Shippen

Addresses: Coventry University School of Art and Design, Priory Street, Coventry, West Midlands CV1 5FB, UK. ' Coventry University School of Art and Design, Priory Street, Coventry, West Midlands CV1 5FB, UK. ' Coventry University School of Art and Design, Priory Street, Coventry, West Midlands CV1 5FB, UK

Abstract: Coventry University School of Art and Design recently expanded its postgraduate offering to include targeted MSc courses aimed at migrating people from one field of experience into another, e.g., engineering to industrial product design. A common feature is the emphasis placed on research methods underpinning design activity. Project outputs are evaluated against the application of relevant and appropriate design principles. This paper explores the impact of user-centred design as part of the MSc experience and its role in transition from one area of expertise to another. Projects are prefaced by taught research methods covering quantitative and qualitative approaches, emphasising ethnographic processes. The benefits of a range of user-centred research approaches and methods are outlined and project case studies are presented. The effectiveness of methods for use in student projects are discussed, both in terms of informing the approach and for resolving practical constraints faced by students in their own work.

Keywords: user-centred research methods; pedagogy; industrial design; postgraduate teaching; product design; design education; design principles; higher education; university students; ethnography.

DOI: 10.1504/JDR.2011.040592

Journal of Design Research, 2011 Vol.9 No.2, pp.159 - 167

Published online: 07 Jun 2011 *

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