Those of you who have attended our workshops have seen the above slide (click on it to see it full size). We use it to illustrate a technique called “how-why laddering,” which helps you work up and down between levels of abstraction when thinking about areas of a problem space to address. In research, we have found it a useful tool for conceptualizing how different parts of a larger project fit together and thinking about the “what” we are trying to solve and the “how” we might do it.
When we first sketched out the RAD project (over three years ago now!) we identified two areas of what we were trying to do that could best be addressed by a traditional academic study. The first was establishing an empirical basis for the content of the workshops. We wanted to understand how innovative, successful scholars approach their research, how creativity fits in, and whether their practice is close enough to design thinking that teaching design thinking techniques to graduate students could be helpful. While we had a hypothesis we would find evidence of similar mindsets, we wanted to rigorously test this.
The second study came from a desire to understand what participants were actually getting out of the workshops. By analyzing data from three years of workshops, we were able to pause and evaluate what is happening in the workshops, what we might improve, and how we might better understand the impact.
Both these studies were published this autumn in the same issue of the International Journal of Doctoral Studies. Like everything else we’ve done with RAD, they are the result of plenty of iteration, feedback from colleagues, and learning within our team. We are pleased to share them with you and look forward to hearing what you think.
- Cravens, A.E., Ulibarri, N., Cornelius, M., Royalty, A & Nabergoj, A.S. (2014). Reflecting, iterating, and tolerating ambiguity: Highlighting the creative process of scientific and scholarly research for doctoral education. International Journal of Doctoral Studies, 9, pp 229-247.
(Link to PDF)
- Ulibarri , N., Cravens, A.E., Cornelius, M., Royalty, A., & Nabergoj, A.S. (2014). Research as design: Developing creative confidence in doctoral students through design thinking. International Journal of Doctoral Studies, 9, pp 249-270. (Link to PDF)