Integrating research into design foundations curriculum: Learning and testing theory

Barbara E. Martinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


ISSUE Design students can integrate theoretical knowledge from foundation-level design courses into real-world applications through basic research exercises. GOAL Through the development of research questions, students gain experience in problem seeking, basic research methods, ond analytical skills. They learn first-hand that the seemingly abstract concepts taught in foundation classes can be tested and new knowledge gained. APPLICATION Introducing students to basic theory testing through the use of hypothesis development and application of basic research methods provides a link between design concepts and how those concepts function in the designed environment. Students utilize the course readings not as passive learners but as active challengers of concepts. They extend the concept from the visual to the cognitive thus enhancing integration of the knowledge and experience. DESCRIPTION Students collaboratively develop research questions based on course readings. They discuss the merits of each question and come to agreement on a question and suitable hypothesis. The class then establishes a method for testing the hypothesis and carries out the research. The collected data are analyzed, and the class works together to draw conclusions. CONCLUSION Students increase their ability to read critically and learn to develop meaningful research questions research questions. Active involvement in examining applications of design theory provides students with a greater understanding of the design concept being tested and helps them to make the cognitive link between theory and practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-58
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Interior Design
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1998


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