Methodologies

This week’s session was about methodologies, so what are methodologies?  The Collins English dictionary defines a methodology as “the system of methods and principles used in a particular discipline” (Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged ©, 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003).  So what are methods?  “Methods are the specific techniques and tools for exploring, gathering and analyzing information” Gray & Malins (2004, p.17). Therefore, I suppose the session was about how we organise our approach to gathering the information we require for our projects.

The way in which we structure our research is very important, as creative individuals practicing differing disciplines our methodologies will all be different, but we have been pointed in the direction of some good resources and we have been provided with some useful snippets from books to get us to consider our own approach to research.  “Methodology in its scientific sense implies a common or shared research approach that is transferable” Gray & Malins (2004, p.18) but for us as creative practitioners we have the freedom to try different approaches and combinations of methods to meet our needs.  In the book ‘Visualizing Research: A Guide to the Research Process in Art and Design’ the authors explain the importance of knowing how to research, they say:

“If research is a process. Then learning about research is about learning how to research. We could almost say that the process is more important than the product – the journey is more interesting than the destination” Gray & Malins (2004, p.17).

The knowledge of how to acquire more knowledge critically and analytically is more important than the knowledge we may learn, as we can re-use our methodology for future practice as we continue to move forward as practitioners, learning and evolving.  My methodology will hopefully be defined by the fruits of its labour but at that point I can reflect and evaluate my methods in order to enhance my methodology for future endeavours.

The methodology that I have used so far through my journey is based upon my design background in which I follow a design process, this process involves me identifying a product for development , I then look at the possibilities for this product; What is it? What will it do? What could it do? Who will want to use it? How will they want to use it? How does it compare to existing products? These are just a few of the questions that I try to identify at the start of my design process.  These questions then require me to look for answers in books, online etc. and sometimes they just lead to more questions which may lead to more research.

Identifying questions is how I start and then I look for answers, problems and solutions.  The main problem at the moment is that I have so many questions and I am becoming impatient in wanting answers because I have the desire to move on to further questions, but patience is a virtue and by taking my time to find information, analyse and reflect upon it, I hope to reach robust conclusions that will be characterised in my practice.

Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

Gray C. & Malins J. (2004) Visualizing Research: A Guide To The Research Process In Art And Design, England:Ashgate Publishing Limited

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