Praxis, analysis and synthesis: The research poster and presentation as a conduit between critical and creative thinking

Dr Mike McAuley (Griffith University)
2018 Conference

This action research study looks at the learning benefits of the research poster, not simply as a vehicle to discuss an individual’s research, but as a conduit which assists student understanding of the relationship between theory and practice. It is argued here that the creative act of poster design and the support mechanism of an oral and screen presentation, combine as a form of praxis—a bridge between theory and practice— allowing students to combine their critical, analytical thinking with creative thinking. Data is based on a questionnaire, powerpoint presentations and research posters designed by third year design students at (University name and program removed). The findings suggest that together, the activity of designing a poster and presenting research findings, enable students to develop a deep understanding of how theory can inform and enrich their design work.

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About the author

Mike McAuley is the Program Director for the Bachelor of Design at Griffith University. Prior to this he was Head of Illustration at Massey University, Wellington N.Z (1995-2013) and Program director, Visual Communication Design at University of Newcastle (2014-16). He is a design pedagogy researcher and is interested in facilitating student learning and creativity through the development of explicit learning strategies. His most recent research focuses on the theory/practice relationship and how a praxis oriented approach can help students develop a deeper appreciation of how theory can inform and improve their creative practice. He has reviewed papers for DRS, Cumulus, LearnX and sits on the editorial board of the journal ‘Art, Design and Communications in Higher education.