Pupils’ design decisions in design and technology education

2008-07-29T13:21:36Z (GMT) by Alexandros C. Mettas E.W.L. Norman
This paper presents some initial results of a pilot study carried out as part of a PhD degree for Loughborough University. The aim of the study is to improve our understanding of how pupils from Cyprus take their decisions while working with design and technology activities. An action research methodology was developed in order to understand how existing practice influences pupils design decisions. Pupils’ sources of information and their ability to set appropriate criteria were also investigated through this study. Data were collected from observations (N=59), semi- structured interviews with pupils (N=15) and through pre-tests and posttests (N=59) with decision-making tasks. Pupils’ responses were categorised according to phenomenology and a coding system was developed based on pupils’ responses. The initial results of the study show that the majority of pupils rarely search for information outside the class before taking their design decisions. The main source of information for Cypriot pupils is their teacher and this is more obvious at younger ages (age 11-12) than later on (age 14-15). A difficulty that pupils face during decision-making is their inability to set appropriate evaluation criteria for their design decisions. Another weakness identified from the research is the lack of motivation that pupils might have during decision-making. The paper also indicates future research plans.