Knowledge Elicitation through a Pragmatic Inquiry

Östman, L.

This is a paper about knowledge in design and how to elicit knowledge from design processes. The paper is a preparation for an empirical study of interaction in the design process. Reasonings of three authors - Schön, Broadbent and Lundequist - on design processes is presented. They all have a pragmatic perspective in common, and regard the process as an activity without a definite form. Design is seen as an activity of creating models of forms and shapes, by addressing expert knowledge ­ in a dialogic way ­ to problematic situations. Due to the pragmatic approach I find the pragmatist Dewey´s understanding of knowledge and elecitation of knowledge appropiate for studying design processes. According to him it is possible to build up objectified descriptions of experiences, also of such, which are based on experiences of emotional and intuitive nature. There need not be a definite border, which separates tacit knowledge from explicit knowledge - when it comes to the question of the possibility of verbal descriptions. Tacit knowledge is possible to articulate within pragmatic thinking. The conclusion is, that it is possible to study the tacit knowledge of design processes, and get some qualitative insights useful for theory building. A study of design processes can look at three different forms of knowledge. It appears as a pre­cognitive understanding of the design situation, as integrated in the design activity - seeing the situation as something known - and in the process of creating something new.

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Östman, L.: Knowledge Elicitation through a Pragmatic Inquiry. 2005.

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