So after reading my Honours dissertation I read through my Masters thesis too. This has really helped me see the thread in my work and clarify the purpose of my PhD which has been waylaid by the the literature I’ve been reading and the ideas that has sparked.
So from my Honours dissertation where I decided graphic designers needed to know more about including people they are designing for in their work, I learned how designers could use different research methods, design methods and (what Brenda Laurel 2003 calls) design research methods. Unfortunately I called this thesis ‘An Exploration into Design Research Methodologies’, rookie mistake, as it was an exploration of methods; 1 in particular – cultural probes (Gaver, Dunne, Pacenti 1999).
In fact that mistake in hindsight is key component of that thesis, and one which has lead me to the PhD. A methodology implies a route or system which uses a set of methods, the results of which are analysed to come to a conclusion, responding to a hypothesis. However this thesis explored visual methods and their results, which, to a certain extent, cannot be analaysed, so what was analysed was participants experience of engaging with each visual method. These conversations held incredible insights for me into people having their voice heard about a particular topic and the possibilities and problems this may present which I am exploring in my PhD now.