Choses à considérer avant un doctorat (en design)

De la direction de thèse à l’environnement de travail, un aperçu des bonnes conditions pour faire un doctorat.

On commence trop souvent une thèse sans avoir une idée réaliste du travail à fournir ou du système universitaire. C’est particulièrement le cas pour les domaines dans lesquels les personnes voulant faire un doctorat n’ont pas fait leur master à l’université – par exemple les diplômé-e-s d’école de design.

Les situations varient, et la liste ci-dessous ne reflète que mon expérience directe et indirecte en France depuis 2014. Ce sont toutes les questions auxquelles il me semble important d’avoir une réponse claire et les conditions qui doivent être réunies avant de s’engager, pour minimiser les risques de burnout, harcèlement, thèse prenant bien plus longtemps qu’annoncée, fortes désillusions sur les débouchés professionnels, etc. Faire une thèse est difficile dans les meilleures circonstances. Cela n’est ni censé être une torture ni un chemin de martyr. Et si le doctorat est un diplôme, faire une thèse est un travail, qui ne peut s’effectuer convenablement que dans des conditions dignes.

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Thematic analysis in HCI

Braun and Clarke’s thematic analysis have become a staple of qualitative HCI research. Here’s why themes don’t emerge and how to get started with reflexive Thematic Analysis


Braun and Clarke’s thematic analysis has become a staple of qualitative HCI research. Here’s how to get started with their reflexive Thematic Analysis method and why themes don’t emerge.

In 2015 at the very beginning of my PhD, my advisor gave me a simple yet essential advice for academic writing: look at papers similar to what you want to achieve. New to qualitative methods, I analyzed a sample of qualitative papers published at CHI that year. Qualitative analysis either referenced Grounded Theory by Charmaz, thematic analysis by Braun and Clarke (B&C), or simply stated using open coding. During CHI reviewing this year, Samantha and I noticed many references to thematic analysis used language and concepts Braun and Clarke have often disavowed. They have in face expressed frustrations regarding how their paper is interpreted and used. We thought it would be helpful to summarize their recent writings on the methods, in hope it would be helpful to researchers new to thematic analysis as we were.

These past few years, their 2006 paper took off, reaching 71 739 citations according to Google Scholar at the time we write this article. Some time last year, they even gave their approach a new name: reflexive thematic analysis. They’ve also vigorously opposed that ‘themes emerge from the data’. As junior researchers, we found applying thematic analysis both easy (a way to annotate data) and difficult (there are theoretical and methodological ramifications we don’t have a clear grasp on). We’ve also kept up with discussions on thematic analysis in psychology and social sciences. Here’s a summary of Braun and Clarke’s concerns regarding uses of their approach to TA and how it applies to HCI research.

Before we continue, let’s just note this article will not get into the matter of Grounded Theory and how to do it. We’ve included more resources at the end of this article.

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How I learned Design Research and How I Teach it (Part 2: Becoming an Ethnographer)

There is a very simple answer to this question: in the night train before my first week of observations, I read a book recommended by Dr François Huguet, who was then about to finish his PhD: The tricks of the Trade, by Howard Becker. Though I probably have read about methods more than any other research topic during my PhD (to compensate for having no formal training in this area), this is the book that stuck. It also felt similar to design in the ways it described tagging along to understand what’s going on or being able to see a different pattern by talking to all actors separately. But the full answer is not as easy.

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How I learned Design Research and How I Teach it (Part 1)

There are countless articles and mailing lists debates about what is design and what is design research out there. This will not summarize these debates, nor is it an attempt to reconcile these views. It is a couple of observations on how I turned to ethnography, preparing a design research course at University of Sussex, my experiences as a designer turned academic and as committee member of a support and networking group for French design PhD students. I have read and taken part to many epistemological, etymological, historical and methodological debates about design research, but I am simply hoping this can provide some insights on design research as people and practices, a world, in reference to Howard Becker, as I have experienced it.

Part 1: A path from designer to academic;
Part 2: Becoming an ethnographer;
Part 3: A network for French Design PhD students: sticking together through diverse PhD program requirements;
Part 4: Establishing a design research course at University of Sussex.

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Design and gender studies

In 2015, Tiphaine Kazi-Tani and I organised a two-days conference on Gender and Design Studies with Design en Recherche. We were looking to foster design and research collaborations on a topic we had found crucially understudied. Especially given the gender gap in the design field, which seems to worsen after graduation. This article proposed an overview on the main research strands on the topic.

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