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An Empirical Study of Understanding in Order to Act and Acting in Order to Understand in Digital Design Practice

Bissoonauth, Chitraj, Margerita Herr, Christiane and Fischer, Thomas (2022) An Empirical Study of Understanding in Order to Act and Acting in Order to Understand in Digital Design Practice. In: Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design, RSD11, 3-16 Oct 2022, Brighton, United Kingdom.

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We present an ongoing empirical study into a distinction between two kinds of purposeful action: understanding in order to act and acting in order to understand. This distinction is referred to in several design theories and has received limited empirical attention. One such effort investigates Tetri’s play and labels the two kinds as pragmatic and epistemic actions. With Tetris being characterized by simple rules and a well-defined goal, the question arises whether it offers a suitable context to account for human action in the context of design, given its ill-defined goals and often-conflicting requirements. To address this question, we are conducting a lab study of individual designers concurrently thinking-aloud during digital design processes. We analyze data acquired in this setting using the lithography method. Our preliminary analysis shows that pragmatic design objectives frequently lead to epistemic fulfilments (or dead-ends) and vice versa. In total, we identify six design episode categories. Numerous design episodes we observed fall into different categories when analyzed across different observational time frames.

Item Type: Conference/Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Cases & Practice, Modelling & Mapping, Architecture & Planning
Divisions: Faculty of Design
Date Deposited: 04 Apr 2024 14:40
Last Modified: 04 Apr 2024 14:40
URI: https://openresearch.ocadu.ca/id/eprint/4265

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