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Qualitative Methods for Technical Topics I: a survey of local practice

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Part II is postponed until Michaelmas 2011

Do you research topics usually considered technical, using qualitative methods? Do you wonder how other researchers in Cambridge face the arising in this kind of work?

Take our 3 minute survey on local practices (here) and come along to one or both of two GreenBRIDGE sessions (one presentation-based, one workshop-style) in June to meet like-minded researchers, workshop issues and get feedback on your work and for new ideas. Following on from GreenBRIDGE’s popular and successful conference Taking Stock: Methods for Built Environment Research (check out the video presentations here), these two informal sessions aim to connect people facing the same research challenges who might not otherwise meet.

Format:

In the first session on June 2, we’ll present a quick analysis of survey responses, and four presentations around the topic will begin a discussion of major areas of interest. Please e-mail the session convenor, Alison McDougall-Weil (afm35), for the chance to present your work briefly and get feedback from a diverse body of Cambridge researchers.

The second session, on June 16, will be based around workshops addressing issues which arose the previous week.

Speakers (June 2):

Alison McDougall-Weil

Alison’s PhD project focusses on the relationship between design intent and subsequent user experience of architecture in bioscience research laboratories using cross-disciplinary methods, including social science approaches in a design research context. Study sites include a Foster+Partners laboratory in California and a number of Cambridge laboratories. This project is funded by the EPSRC . Alison’s first degree is in literature, and she has moved disciplines from architecture to engineering at graduate level. She has previously worked for Rafael Vinoly Architects, the Royal Academy of Art, and Oxford University Press, and run a small business providing architecture and media services.

Bernhard Dusch

Berhard Dusch is a PhD student in the area of sustainable design management at the Institute for Manufacturing in the University of Cambridge Department of Engineering. The overall aim of this study is to provide a better understanding of how the concept of sustainable design can be more effectively integrated in design practice. A central aspect of his research is the development of sustainable design reference and brainstorm tools which are tested with design practitioners in the domestic appliances industry. He will present on the challenges of using multiple qualitative methods, particularly data triangulation with interviews and workshops and some issues around sampling and ethical implications. Bernhard started his career as a professional photographer for industry and fashion. He had been working as a Designer for the German based design consultancy MetaDesign before he joined the IFM in May 2009.

Marcos Pelenur

As part of the EPSRC Project: Re- engineering the City 2020-2050 (RETROFIT 2050), Marcos is researching household perceptions towards energy, and future socio-technical energy management systems in the domestic built environment. His field research is based in the city regions of Cardiff and Manchester. Retrofitting the domestic built environment in the UK presents an outstanding opportunity to cut CO2 emissions, reduce national energy demand, and improve building performance. Currently, UK buildings are responsible for consuming about 50% of the nation’s primary energy and account for about 45% of its anthropogenic CO2 emissions. This impact is further reinforced with the forecast that nearly 90% of today’s existing poor performance buildings will still be standing and functioning in 2050. However, empirical data shows that post-retrofit energy savings are often short of their potential gains, a phenomenon termed the ‘Energy Efficiency Gap’. While a number of technical factors may help explain this gap, difficult to quantify social factors, such as well-being, family, and occupant behaviour are also significant and often under- emphasised in public policy. As such, in order to increase the effectiveness of large scale domestic retrofit projects, well engineered solutions should consider both technical and social factors together. Marcos is a Member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology, and based on his interdisciplinary research approach was awarded the Dow Sustainability Innovation Prize in 2011.

Casual attendance is also encouraged at either session.

Please do complete the survey even if you can’t attend – your response matters!

This talk is part of the Sustainability in the Built Environment (GreenBRIDGE) series.

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