The role of values in design decision-making in design and technology education
journal contributionposted on 17.07.2013, 08:33 by Rhoda TriminghamRhoda Trimingham
The paper presents the findings of a PhD study into design decision-making and specifically the use of values during design decision-making. Firstly it presents a model of design decision-making as a combination of the use of knowledge, skills and values and discusses a selection of the associated literature. It then describes the development of a taxonomy of values used in design decision-making developed from a series of pilot interviews, protocol analysis and focus groups. This was necessary because although the values agenda is not new, previous studies were found to have gaps, or did not reflect the current state of play. From this more in-depth case studies were carried out to explore the influence of values in design decision-making. Eight designers, ranging from A-level students to professionals were asked to design a lectern out of sustainable materials. They were given one day to complete the project. For one hour during the day they were asked to ‘talk aloud’ while being videoed, also known as concurrent verbalisation and protocol analysis. They also took part in a 40 minute retrospective interview about their design work, at the end of the day. One professional was also asked to complete a ten day design project in order to verify the results against a longitudinal project. They also took part in a 40 minute retrospective interview at the end of the ten day period. The results were analysed using the new taxonomy as a coding system. The study illustrates the ability to research the role of values in design decision-making using a variety of techniques. The data generated shows values driving many of the decisions designers make including the way in which they cognitively organise their design activity and through which they can reduce avenues of enquiry. The paper discusses the key influences of both internal and external values, and similarities and differences between participants. Finally the paper discusses how these findings may contribute to the development of design and technology education and outlines possibilities for future work.