Steven F. Freeman

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Research Approach

Improving Design Education in India

page last modified: 11/16/2018 08:31 PM

Dissertation research by Darshi Mody

I describe the present status of design education through the lens of a pragmatist and a progressive educator-John Dewey. “When external authority is rejected, it does not follow that all authority should be rejected, but rather that there is need to search for a more effective source of authority” (Dewey, 2015).  The importance of Dewey’s assertion in relation to design education in India is that Indian designers are uniquely positioned to influence the system through which they prepare for careers in India. External control, which governs other academic disciplines within Indian higher education, doesn’t presently dominate the landscape of design education. As such, by exercising agency over the structure and substance of India’s design education system, designers create a source of authority that corresponds to the needs of the design profession. My methodology for the research project is design thinking which is a human-centered approach where I will collect data by distributing survey questions to the participant.

Many business companies have started using human-centered observation-based research method whereby they make efforts to understand their consumers in a specific context to stay competitive in the market (Howard & Suri, 2006). My research took the basic principles of corporate ethnography and put them into practice within the Indian design education system by collecting the ideas, impressions, and concerns of Indian design professionals. Dewey’s extensive work on education ascertains the role of reflection as a bridge between the theory and experience (Bringle & Hatcher, 1999). In this sense, reflections are seen as a thread emerging from the experiences shared by design professionals to help advance individuals and, ultimately, society (Rodgers, 2002). The participants for the study is one stakeholder group-Indian interior design professionals.

Following are the different criteria for selecting a participant as an Interior design professional for the purpose of this study:

ü  A participant should have a formal education in interior design from an Indian design institute and experience working as a design professional for at least three-five years, or

ü  A participant could be either an employee, employer or an intern in an interior design firm,

ü  A participant with at least a bachelor’s in architecture degree and working as an interior designer (In India architects can work as interior designers, but interior designers cannot function as architects)

Please feel free to ask me about my research methodology and design of the study.


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