Research Output
Wild networks: the articulation of feedback and evaluation in a creative inter-disciplinary design studio
  It is argued that design exists within a collective social network of negotiation, feedback sharing and reflection that is integral to the design process. To encourage this, requires a technological solution that enables designers to access, be aware of, and evaluate the work of others, and crucially, reflect upon how they are socially influenced. However in order to develop software that accurately reveals peer valuation, an understanding is required of the sociality at work in an interdisciplinary design studio. This necessitates an acknowledgement of the complexities of the feedback sharing process that is not only socially intricate in nature but is also potentially unacknowledged. In order to develop software that addresses these issues and makes explicit the dynamics of social interaction at play in a design studio, a ‘wild networks’ methodological approach is applied to two case studies, one in an educational setting, the other in a professional practice. The ‘wild networks’ approach uses social network analysis, through and in conjunction with, contextual observation and is used to map the network of numerous stakeholders, actors, views and perceptions at work. This methodological technique has resulted in an understanding of social networks within a design studio, how they are shaped and formed and has facilitated the development of prototype network visualisation software based upon the needs and characteristics of real design studios.

The findings from this thesis can be interpreted in various ways. Firstly the findings from the case studies and from prototype technological representations enhance previous research surrounding the idea of a social model of design. The research identifies and highlights the importance of evolving peer-to-peer feedback, and the role of visual evaluation within social networks of feedback sharing. The results can also be interpreted from a methodological viewpoint. The thesis demonstrates the use of network analysis and contextual observation in providing an effective way of understanding the interactions of designers in a studio, and as an appropriate way to inform the software design process to support creativity. Finally the results can be interpreted from a software design perspective. The research, through the application of a ‘wild networks’ methodological process, identifies key features (roles, location, levels, graphics and time), for inclusion within a socially translucent, network visualisation prototype that is based upon real world research.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    22 March 2011

  • Publication Status:


  • Library of Congress:

    QA76 Computer software


Joel, S. Wild networks: the articulation of feedback and evaluation in a creative inter-disciplinary design studio. (Thesis). Edinburgh Napier University. Retrieved from



Peer evaluation; design; wild networks; social network analysis; network visualisation software; contextual observation;

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