Designerly ways of speaking: investigating how the design tribe of researchers speak on design thinking

Ghassan, Aysar (2019) Designerly ways of speaking: investigating how the design tribe of researchers speak on design thinking. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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This thesis investigates how a community of design researchers speak on ‘Design Thinking’, a key concept in design research. The thesis traces the development of Design Thinking theory over the last 100 years. It identifies errors associated with how influential research (for example, Buchanan; Cross) frames the history of investigation into Design Thinking. For example, influential theorists do not consider a complete history of investigation into the way that designers think when discussing timescales of Design Thinking research. The thesis then summarises existing research into ways of speaking associated with Design Thinking and identifies significant gaps in the knowledge. Gaps include the absence of an agreed definition of ‘Design Thinking’ despite repeated calls. A lack of existing studies which use methods specifically designed to investigate ways of speaking have helped to create the gaps in knowledge. The thesis asks: how do Design Thinking researchers speak on Design Thinking? What purposes do these ways of speaking serve? The original work involves using methods specifically designed to investigate ways of speaking (Corpus Linguistics and Content Analysis). Three studies on ways of speaking are undertaken. The data set consists of peer-reviewed papers which focus on Design Thinking. The papers are published in design journals so are representative of ways of speaking used by the small academic design research community. This thesis terms this community the Design Tribe. Ways of speaking contrast progressive Design Thinking with a range of dominant, established ways of thinking (for example, STEM models). A distinctive lexicon characterises the way that researchers speak on Design thinking. Design Thinking is: agile, complex, fluid, multimodal and collaborative; established alternative ways of thinking conceal, standardize, are rigid, squash and reduce. The study reveals a range of inconsistencies associated with the ways that researchers classify Design Thinking. These issues highlight the part that a distinctive lexicon plays in enabling researchers to claim knowledge on Design Thinking. While there is little evidence to suggest a distinctive Design Thinking, there is certainly a distinctive and coherent form of discourse. This thesis terms this discourse, ‘designerly ways of speaking’. The thesis also uses critical theory developed by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari to speculate on aspects which help to sustain designerly ways of speaking.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: design thinking, corpus linguistics, discourse analysis, content analysis, academic tribes
Subjects: W200 Design studies
W900 Others in Creative Arts and Design
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Design
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Depositing User: Rachel Branson
Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2020 09:42
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2022 08:01

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