Architecture Program


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Ragan, Ann Marie "Evidence-based Service-learning Interior Design Projects: Engaging Undergraduate Students and Advancing the Interior Design Body of Knowledge" (2013). Architecture Program: M.S. Thesis.


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Architecture, Under the Supervision of Professor Betsy S. Gabb. Lincoln, Nebraska: February 2013

Copyright (c) 2012 Ann Marie Ragan


Expanding the current interior design body of knowledge (BOK) is essential to the continued development of the interior design profession (Birdsong & Lawlor, 2001; Clemons & Eckman, 2011; Dickinson, Anthony, & Marsden, 2009; Dickinson, Anthony, Marsden, & Read, 2007; Dickson & White, 2009; Guerin & Martin, 2001, 2004, 2010; Martin & Guerin, 2006). The increased use of evidence-based design (EBD) projects in the interior design industry offers interior designers the opportunity to conduct research studies with the potential to create better designs and to expand the existing interior design BOK. Incorporating the EBD process into service-learning projects has the potential to engage interior design students in conducting research, demonstrate how research is utilized in the design process, and assist students with understanding the importance of conducting research as an interior design professional.

The purpose of this quantitative and qualitative research study was to explore EBD knowledge of interior design students participating in a service-learning project utilizing a combination of qualitative and quantitative research methods to examine if service-learning projects used to teach EBD are an effective means for teaching the importance of conducting research to future interior designers. Third-year students enrolled in the interior design program at North Dakota State University were surveyed to determine their current EBD knowledge. The most significant finding of this research was that students thought the interior design profession benefited from interior designers conducting research. All the students indicated an interest in service-learning projects and an interest in interior design studio projects that incorporated real clients and spaces.

Determining the most effective types of projects to utilize when teaching EBD to interior design students could impact students’ perception of the importance of research to the interior design profession. Providing faculty with a means to engage students in research could encourage future interior designers to incorporate research into their professional work, expanding the interior design BOK in the process.

Advisor: Betsy S. Gabb

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