Last week, I put a quick survey online asking how actual designers make use of academic literature.
It provoked some interesting discussion on Twitter as well as two great blog posts from Dr Nicola Combe and Clearleft’s Andy Budd exploring different aspects of the question: ways to get access to academic research, and the frustrations of the relationship between design practice and academia. Comments on Andy’s article from Vicky Teinaki and Sebastian Deterding helped draw out some of the issues in more detail (and highlighted some of the differences between fields). Kevin Couling has also blogged from the perspective of an engineer, drawing on Nicola’s post. Steven Shorrock pointed to his work with Amy Chung and Ann Williamson addressing similar issues, much more rigorously, within human factors and ergonomics [PDF]. Someone also reminded me that I’d already blogged about related issues back in 2007.
As of now, about 50 people have filled in the survey, a mixture of digital, physical and service design practitioners: thank you everyone, and thanks too to people who emailed comments in addition.
Here’s the full spreadsheet of survey responses (Google Docs) so far. I’ve had some good suggestions for other places to publicise it, so I’ll do this in due course to get a wider scope of practitioners’ opinions.