Why do I blog and “Why do academics blog?”

One might ask, why do a PhD student blog? To be honest, I don’t feel awkward about it. I have been blogging since I was in high school. It used to be dialogue between me and my best mate who studied in Australia and I am sure nobody else read it. The reminiscence of blogging came out when it was compulsory to maintain a design blog during my master study. At first it was unusual to ‘publish’ an on-going project, as designers tend to sort of be secretive about design process. But then I enjoyed it. It is good to freeze some on-going ideas and try to present it in a very casual manner. For me, the idea was borrowed from habits of dealing with design projects and applies it in my research.

However, I came across this published article about the growing trend about blogging.

Mewburn, I. & Thomson, P. (2013). Why do academics blog? An analysis of audiences, purposes and challenges. Studies in Higher Education, 38, 1105-1119.

It is observed by them that blog offer:

1) “reaching wider audiences and for networking” and it is related with the need to address impacts beyond academics (blue skies research).

Fortunately I just attended Research Impact workshop on Friday, and these impacts are seriously highlighted especially within UK Higher Institutions.

2) help academics to write in a  less serious way.

I do agree with this. We all know that writing is not easy (never will) and this platform is a good way to exercise. Especially for a non English native speaker like me. Aside from doing our research, because that is our priority, of course!

So, why not blogging?

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My Dissertation:

June 2012- Master of Architecture (in Design) dissertation

“An Investigation into the Effectiveness of Collaborative Workshops as a simulation of Cross-Disciplinary partnerships between Architecture and Product Design Students in the Façade Workshop 2011”

ABSTRACT
The Facade Workshop 2011 was a collaborative workshop between nine architecture students and nine product design students, and it was an opportunity to explore cross-disciplinary partnership. The focus of the workshop was to develop detailed facade components, as middle ground and mutual project between two disciplines. This study aimed to examine its effectiveness in terms of shared knowledge and enhanced creativity.
The study was a piece of primary research, which entailed the collection of raw data of the Facade Workshop 2011’s participants. The research was carried using mixed methods, qualitative and quantitative approach, which largely consisted of questionnaires. To fill in the gap between education and practice, an interview with product designers who are working in a multidisciplinary office was undertaken. In addition, the design of the research instruments was informed by an extensive study of the literature review, expected learning outcomes, personal observations, students’ experiences and mutual discussion with convenors. Based on the study of design thinking and its need to be implemented in education system (pedagogy), it was observed that there were four pertinent requirements of collaborative design: understanding and communication, partnership, skills and curriculum agenda. The four requirements were carried throughout the whole research.
It was concluded that the Facade Workshop 2011 had a positive contribution, but certain improvements should be considered. The positive contributions are: creativity enhancement, skills improvement, and the opportunity to work in practice-look-alike environment. Also, the understanding between both partners (uninformed expectation, non-valuable feedback and less contribution), duration and discipline barrier needed to be minimised. Therefore, the study was concluded with a recommendation for future similar collaborations. The recommended workshop adapted the concept of an effective norm of working in group by Zunde and Boughdad (2006) and Lawson (1997): forming- storming- norming- performing.
Keywords:

Collaborative design, design education, creativity, cross-disciplinary knowledge sharing, architecture and product design.
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design research

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I treat my research project as a design project. Having a live journal to see how I evolve from time to time always fascinates me. I am not a particularly good scientific writer (having a design background and being a non English native speaker do not really help), but getting into the habit of writing will definitely helps to crystallise my ideas and thoughts. Bfn.

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