Critical Journal / Contextual Portfolio: A framework for documenting and disseminating RtD as scholarly research

2019-04-22T21:13:12Z (GMT) by RTD Conference Zoë Sadokierski
This paper presents a two-part framework for documenting and disseminating Research through Design (RtD) as a scholarly activity, intended primarily for designers new to scholarly research and students developing Research through Design (RtD) as a mode of inquiry. The first part of the framework provides guidelines for documenting RtD through a Critical Journaling practice, which emphasises chronologically capturing and reflecting on: contextual research, self and peer critique, and regular ‘overview maps’, alongside iterative design processes. The second part argues for disseminating RtD projects through Contextual Portfolios, which situate design artefacts alongside key insights from primary research, innovative design processes, and self and peer critique, in order to explicitly frame contributions to scholarly knowledge. The framework is demonstrated using an ongoing RtD project ‘Endgame’; I show how ‘research data’ drawn from my Critical Journaling practice is used to produce Contextual Portfolios, in order to present the research in different contexts. The paper concludes by highlighting the challenges of demonstrating scholarly rigour underpinning RtD that is ‘equivalent’
to traditional scholarly publications and suggests ‘open access peer review’ and an RtD community publishing model, supported by university presses.