I believe the process of reflective writing gave me a chance to learn through storytelling and connect my research methodologies with my practice by gaining deeper insight as to the role research led practice and practice led research have both contributed to my practice. The interconnected pathways of these methods have provided challenges that when combined with other research methodologies, can be put into different perspectives.
The iterative cycle as an illustration and concept of this process, was an interesting learning activity that required me to set forth a diagram of my own research methodologies and apply it to my MA project while considering the cycling variables in which my methods may take. This brought me into a new plateau of considerations and observations. The idea of using mixed modes of research methods have expanded my skillset and have helped me achieve a greater sense of the importance of research and the role that research contributes to design.
As the Research and Practice module ran in aggregation with and in support of Practice 1, conceptualization of visual communication was greatly expanded epistemologically due to the broadening of research methods and its role in connecting theory with practice. I am now finding this concept to be the driving force behind all stages of my practice. I am thinking differently.
The reflective blogging also allowed me to keep track of resources as well as my thought processes which I found to be invaluable material that I have revisited often during the course of the development and idea generation phases. This has helped alleviate some of the stresses that this semester has caused due to the extensive workload requirements.
Through the progression of the blog, I kept the learning activities as a sort of guide to keep me on track with the Practice 1 module and to narrate the process of design thinking. The Research and Practice module helped influence some of the decisions made in the development of my MA project by reinforcing my already acquired knowledge by implementing supplementary secondary research and encouraging exploration as a method of this. I had never thought of this before, but after reading through journal articles suggested in the learning activities, exploration as research has contributed to new avenues of thought and design processes.
Because of this, I am finding that I am experimenting with different types of research as I develop solutions and this is what motivates me to critically analyze all phases of design thinking as I employ mixed modes of research and design thinking. While one mode may be less rigorous in one regard, the other will make up for it in others, such as reflection methods vs. data collection and so forth.
As this semester draws to an end, I appreciate the time spent on reflection in this module as it has enabled an exponential growth of knowledge and research skills, and has allowed me to implement these into my designs by controlling the practical environment. I have learned through reflective learning that solving design problems through modes of inquiry have increased my epistemological and critical thinking skills. In addition, including the learned methodologies of reorganization, deconstruction and reconstruction approaches into my research methods, have also greatly contributed to the transformation of my theories and inquiries by implementing them into the iterative cycle, resulting in the best way to informally structure my practice and connect it to theories.