Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Swanson Reading Summary

Graphic Design Education as a Liberal Art:
Design and Knowledge in the University and the "Real World"

This essay takes a look at how Graphic Design has been lacking an academic niche, and describes the importance of the broader incorporation of the liberal arts in applying professionalism to the field.

Design is essentially lacking in its own subject matter, and must be integrated into other disciplines in order to have meaning. In terms of education, this essay states that most programs have only prepared students for fields in design, and provide not much more than vocational training. If design teachers teach students what they learned in school, then there is a severe gap between education today and the current field of Graphic Design. The best thing is to make students adaptable to the perpetually changing field.

Design should be about meaning and how meaning is created. Design in practice, exists primarily in response to an externally generated need or situation. In essence, the lack of an academic niche has created a professional practice that is capable of bridging many fields and solving problems that encompass disciplines of all kinds.

Leedy/Ormand Reading Summary

Part I: The Fundamentals
What is Research?

A fairly straightforward approach to defining research, the author starts by describing "What Research is Not". We are then lead through a series of statements and in-depth examples to shed light on the misconceptions, and misuse of the term research. Research is not information gathering, not transportation of facts from one location to another, not rummaging for information, not a catchword used to get attention. Essentially the essence of research is the interpretation of the data.

There are certain key points in defining what research is: it originates with a question or a problem, requires clear articulation of a goal, requires a plan, divides the principal problem into subproblems, is lead by hypothesis, accepts certain critical assumptions, and requires the collection and interpretation of data in an attempt to resolve the problem that initiated the research. Most important to realize about research is that it is, by nature, cyclical.

The overarching message is that it is the organization and interpretation of data that creates valuable information in research. And although each interpretation is different - because research in inevitably subjective, it is the only way that new meaning is extracted. In doing research in a genuine way, we learn that more problems and questions arise, and that the process creates the need for more research, "such is the nature of the acquisition of knowledge."