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Ethnographic approach to design knowledge. Dialogue and participation as discovery tools within complex knowledge contexts

This paper has been presented at IASDR conference 2009
Rigor and Relevance in Design Research, 18-22 October 2009, Seoul, South Korea conference website

Ethnographic approach to design knowledge.
Dialogue and participation as discovery tools within complex knowledge contexts

get the full text proceeding | by Francesca Valsecchi, Paolo Ciuccarelli
Keyword: design methodology, ethnography, dialogue, knowledge tools, knowledge sharing

Abstract

The following paper explores two main concepts: a) the ethnography as a thick and qualitative observation method, which refers to an active interpretation of the traditional ethnography by the communication design research mindset; b)


the definition of design knowledge space, as extended boundaries for the physical place of design activities.
In the paper we introduce the interpretation of ethnographic plan as a tool for communication epistemology and as a relevant research tool for the understanding and interaction with high complexity knowledge contexts. Ethnography has been
practiced within design organizations aiming to provide remarks and insights about knowledge management systems within knowledge intensive organizations. We describe ethnography structure, tools, data analysis and interpretation
techniques.
For communication design practice, the field research is not considered merely as a techniques toolbox that have been borrowed from social sciences; design rhetoric refers to the major purpose of design thinking to act transformations in the observed contexts; ethnography is a way to face problem setting through research tools that consider observation and dialogue as the necessary design premise.

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