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Values in Design

Lenny van Onselen

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PhD

Sacrifices

Last week, I followed a discussion on the sacrifices people make for gaining a PhD. I was shocked. I did not share their feelings as for me it was such a dream to pursue a PhD that I do not feel like I am sacrificing everything. Another person who had similar feelings her/his comments were used as he/she was blaming others for sharing their sacrifices. I did see it differently.

I think this is a matter of perception and maybe your values? Some time ago you have made the decision to pursue a PhD. If in doing so you follow intrinsically motivated values, such as stimulation or curiosity, you might not feel strongly in making sacrifices. Others might be pushed by others (e.g. power of parents or profs) or pulled by extrinsically motivated values (e.g. achievement). Of course, these are valid values, but they are anxiety based. These might give you a feeling of making sacrifices all the time.

My advice is not to focus  Continue reading “Sacrifices”

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Swimming​ in data

In the past few months, I have been up to my ears gathering data and developing tools to support junior designers reflecting on value-based conflicts. This was amazing! The next step is to consolidate all this data in a paper. I have so much data that I almost do not know where to start. I have collected pictures, drawings, notes, chats, interviews, videos, survey data, emails… to name a few.

Data collection
Data collection (pic by Jens Gijbels)

In my first study, I conducted 22 interviews which were transcribed. I added a few more data sources for triangulation, but my main source of data were interview transcriptions. Since my last interview in 2016, I have been analyzing with my supervisory team. We have been working through this rich material. I am happy to announce our first journal article is finished. I submitted it to a journal for review yesterday.

To come back to my second study, you may understand my worry. As I have been working over 1,5 year to have something publishable for my first study, I start to feel some stress for my second study. This is a much wider collection of data. I have to be pragmatic and get a grip on this fast. I have 1,5 year left to finish my thesis, so although it may sound a lot, I do feel some pressure building up.

The ‘afterlife’

Yesterday, my prof asked me what my ambitions are. I have been thinking about what to do after my PhD, but it seemed still so far away. I realized however, I might be finished in 1,5 years. You never know what happens along the way, but ideally, I should be finished somewhere beginning 2019.

It had been such a journey to obtain a PhD position. Continue reading “The ‘afterlife’”

Learning loop

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about how I have these little epiphanies. Last week, I had a major one. I could say, I completed a learning loop. Kolb (an educational theorist) developed the experiential learning model composed of four elements: concrete experience, observation & reflection, formation of abstract concepts, and testing new concepts. According to his theory you have a preferred learning style, but you generally go through all four stages. So, what happend with me?

Teenage-brain-768x432

Continue reading “Learning loop”

Should I continue my PhD?

I believe almost any PhD student at least once asks her/himself this question. I did to. Two times actually. It always came down to a yes in my case. I remember reading  blogposts and had conversations with my friend. I asked this question and two questions followed:

  • Why did you start your PhD?
  • Why would you want to quit?

If the answer to the first is “for myself”. The answer to the main question is Continue reading “Should I continue my PhD?”

The Anecdote

This how it all started a long time a go, when my PhD was just a seed.

As junior I worked as freelance consultant. One value I hold dear, is sustainability. Working on free projects, I could pursue this value. However, to get food on the table, I had to accept projects that had nothing to do with sustainability. After a discussion with a client about considering sustainability in the project or not, I became frustrated. I realized later, I was dealing with two opposing values. I lacked tools to effectively deal with this value difference and as a result I quit my freelance business.

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Doing a part-time and external PhD

IMG_3707.jpg

My occupation is lecturer at a University of Applied Sciences. Dutch law dictates these universities are not allowed to promote PhD candidates. My employer does like lecturers to get a PhD and supports this by handing out PhD vouchers. This is a small grand provided by our University, to which you can apply for as lecturer. I received this grand 2 years ago and will receive another 2 years. However, I am not doing my PhD at my own University, but at Delft University of Technology where my promotor resides.

Doing a part-time PhD is hard, because Continue reading “Doing a part-time and external PhD”

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