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"Cold Headed" Research and Emotional Design, A Social Approach

Ron Dalva , Arie Ruder

Designers are often asked to devise solutions to problems or situations relating to the diverse aspects of human activities. It is mostly regarded as utilitarian approach where fusion of ideas and action tools from diverse sources is employed to arrive at the optimal functional solution.

In the present work, a specific step in the qualification of design arts teachers is evaluated. This step, comprising the experience of a course, begins with studies of research methods, goes trough action research and concludes with socially motivated design projects for special needs and environments. Socially motivated designing becomes a result of a growing emotional involvement of the students with the diverse groups of people with whom they come in contact during the research process.

During the course the students are simultaneously exposed to texts emerging from two different disciplines and they perform under their combined influence. One discipline is scientific-engineering and the other is the socialethical
domain. The students are instructed to perform “cold headed” research in fields such as: environments, sociology, pedagogy and psychology, engineering and even medicine.

The topics of the course are leading the students to accumulate theoretical knowledge combined with the creation of ideas and propositions for actual objects and environments. The last are presented as sheer hypothesis, research questions, and are therefore proposals awaiting further research and possible future implementation.

Focusing on groups with special needs in domains such as: education, learning environments, quality of life and influencing environments, promotes social involvements and emotinal sensibility. This sensibility is reflected both in their human interactions as well as in their design proposals.


design education, research methods, hypothesis, design for needs, social approach