Research as a Design Problem

I’m listening to Mozart’s Requiem and I’m almost too captivated by it to read or write another word. Let’s see if I can write within it.

I logged on to record another development in my summer project. A colleague found a marvelous site on reflective writing in visual sketchbooks and it has me inspired to re-try using sketchbooks/journals with my fall students with an emphasis on the nature of researched writing as a “design problem.”  I’ve taken this approach with my students before but never felt that I adequately conveyed the idea that I don’t mean it as an artistic metaphor for the research process but as an adjective. Design is visual and it is conceptual and [academic] research is those things also.
Anyhoo, in an effort to walk the talk and to give my students a couple of [hopefully] clear models, I’ve decided to compose a digital sketchbook (a blog) and a tangible one, dedicating each one to a specific research project that is not directly tied to art.  (I have so many different projects underway that this commitment doesn’t change my life much except to extract two of those projects from their existing journals/blogs/sketchbooks for the models.) Since anything I do for students tends to get done long before anything I do for myself this commitment is also likely to help me be more productive as well.
As I do the sketchbooks elsewhere I’ll report on them periodically here on this blog, at least in terms of my evolving thinking about research as a design problem. (Update: I’ve begun a separate blog as a possible model of a digital research sketchbook for my fall students. There I’ve also done some thinking and writing regarding the design problem approach.)

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