Posted on Jun 03 , 2010 in Current Conferences & Action Research

A Perennially Controversial Designerly Mode of Enquiry

Action Research lead paper | Dr Eddie Norman | 2006

A Perennially Controversial Designerly Mode of Enquiry

design, eddie norman


This paper seeks to summarise the contributions which have been made to ongoing conversations regarding action research at DATER and IDATER conferences and their context. Contributions by Archer, Green and Roberts in IDATER Keynote Addresses are particularly noted, but papers by other authors acknowledged. Contributions by Loughborough University’s Design Education Research Group (DERG) beyond the IDATER arena are also cited. The paper and its concluding remarks, alongside the Keynote Addresses by Archer, Green and Roberts set the context for IDATER-online 2006 which focuses on action research.


Action research has been an aspect of the on-going discussions at the DATER and IDATER conferences since their origins in 1988. At the inaugural Conference the late Professor John Eggleston discussed the task ahead in his Keynote Address.

Perhaps the task that this conference needs to lend itself to most urgently is that of recognising that research and development is an integral part of our educational activities. It is something that we have to take on board as an essential component of the whole process of teaching Design and Technology. The need has never been greater than now as we are set to deliver a major expansion of Design and Technology. If one listens to the politicians you will hear that Design and Technology is expected to provide virtually the whole range of the new learning opportunities that are seen to be particularly relevant to the kind of society into which we are moving.(1989:129)

Eggleston was concerned about the preparedness of the profession in the late 1980s to face the challenges that the introduction of the National Curriculum in England and Wales in 1990 would present and particularly about the research foundations.

At the moment we are in such an uninformed position that we cannot even be specific about what we hope to deliver and therefore we cannot even devise strategies to respond. (ibid, 130)

To read the full article download the paper:

Action Research: A perennially controversial designerly mode of enquiry

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Nigel Zanker
Programme Director, Design Education and Research

Loughborough Design School
Loughborough University
LE11 3TU
Direct: +44 (0)1509 222661
Fax: +44 (0)1509 223999