Today’s class reminded me of a few things and I wanted to share in hope that they will start a discussion and helps your design/research projects.

Generalizability vs Transferability

Colorado State university has this guide to understanding Generalizability and/or transferability

It might help clarifying the similarities and differences between the two terms? They definitely aren’t mutually exclusive, it seems like a fairly subtle difference.

Relationships and Action Research

A while back, Shaowen suggested I read the book “The Action Research Dissertation”  [2] for my own research. There are a few visual which have really stuck with me that I wanted to share with you, especially as you move forward in capstone and other design projects. The following two images and citations are paraphrased from this book:

The first is the four squares of knowledge, which helps us see where we position ourselves as researchers/designers. this was originally introduced by Luft [3]. If you are in III, you are positioning yourself as an outside expert, rather than a collaborator and placing yourself in a privileged  power role. This renforces having insiders place themselves and stay within quadrant II, undervaluing their professional and vernacular knowledge and experiences. However, quadrant IV is where action research comes into play.It helps to reduce the tendencies of people in II and III in order to reach an understanding of a topic mutually and collaboratively (Quad I).

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The second is seeing the different types of relationships and participation levels between researcher/designer and local people (participants/user group). It is taken from Cornwall [1].

How do you generally frame your work with those for whom you are studying?

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It’s a great book and I’m happy to talk more about it! I really liked the 3rd column in this chart;  it made me think about my own work and how I view my role. Reflexivity and self-awareness, FTW!  🙂


[1] Cornwall, A. (1996). Towards participatory practice: Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) and the participatory process. In K. De Koning & M. Martin (Eds.) Participatory research in health: Issues and experience (pp 94-107). London: Zed Books.

[2]Herr, K., Anderson, G. 2005. The Action Research Dissertation. Sage Publications Limited. Thousand Oaks, CA.

[3] Luft, J. (1963). Group Process: An Introduction to group dynamics. Palo Alto, CA: National Press Books