IMM 280 Week 2: The Basics (From Just Enough Research)

In high school, I studied in a vocational school as a culinary arts student. In class, we were required to give presentations on different kinds of foods or cooking practices. Some students would present with the traditional posterboard or powerpoint slides. Others would go so far as to make a dish in front of the class as part of their presentations. But our teacher was always the most impressed by the one group of students who didn’t need to rely on reading off of their slides, or staring at their index cards while they talked to the class. As Mr. Fortun would say, “their presentation was great because they knew what the hell they were talking about.”

This, I believe, is the main point that Erika Hall is driving at in the second chapter of Just Enough Research. A product is only as good as the research that has been done to fortify it. If you have done a thorough investigation of what you will need for your project and organize your findings in a coherent manner, you ultimately will have more credibility and a clearer sense of direction for where the project needs to go next.

The chapter for this week’s reading is in a sense, our researching how to research. I really liked Hall’s idea that everybody on the design team has a responsibility to do research. Designers should not just be the recipients of research; they should be their own educators. I have felt in my own projects that accomplishing tasks and reaching goals is a much easier feat if you first take the time to understand what you’re trying to propose. I also found Hall’s listing of common objections useful and relatable, having previously worked as a salesperson for a solar company. One of the biggest struggles with my job was always trying to learn how to overcome those common objections that I would get about solar systems. I would imagine that many clients view research as a less important, more expendable part of their project, since clients tend to favor progress as opposed to being very thorough. Therefore, it is also important to know how to defend the value of research.

Overall, the reading has made me do a lot of reflection of my own thinking process. Determining the right style of research to use, asking questions, being detailed and curious are all key elements of conducting good research that I hope to develop over time. Hall’s emphasis on carrying out impartial research helps me to start to pinpoint where I may have my own personal biases. Finally, I feel as though the reading has motivated me to be more curious in my researching process and to question my assumptions, so that as a designer, I will know my project inside and out.

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