E. Speck, B. Gillis

The George Washington University (UNITED STATES)
Post-Graduate students in the Interior Design program are required to complete a capstone project as part of their assessment prior to graduation. This thesis is the result of research that is conducted during a six week intensive research seminar and is the prelude to the final design project and critique. As stated in the National Council for Interior Design Qualifications, “Research and analysis of the client's goals and requirements; and development of documents, drawings and diagrams that outline those needs” are all requirements of the Interior Designer. As the industry’s emphasis on evidence based design continues to grow, academic programs must respond.

The professor of the course and a university librarian partner with a Decorative Arts Librarian as well as many practicing designers in firms throughout the District of Columbia. Specifically, the faculty-librarian-industry partnership is critical to promoting successful scholarship among students in the masters cohort. This virtual presentation will highlight:

*The partnership that we have created between the Interior Design masters research seminar and the university libraries and design practitioners.
*The interdisciplinary nature of interior design research, and how important it is for students to draw on the scholarship of other fields such as Psychology, Sociology, History, Cultural Studies, Medicine, Business and Economics, and more *The value of different kinds of information for our students, from finding and analyzing case studies and precedent studies to historical plans and drawings, neighborhood reports, news, original research and scholarship in architecture and interior design as well as other appropriate disciplines, and site visits, interviews, and other primary data gathering.

One of our goals is to expose students to the vast arena of resources available to them not only as University students, but also as residents of the Washington, D.C. area, while another goal is to underscore the level of criticality and originality that is valued and expected by both the academy and architecture and design firms. Our approach to excellence in interior design research encourages students to engage their subjects critically and to have a sound base of evidence on which to develop their arguments and visions for the future. It empowers them to make evidence-based decisions in their design projects and to defend those projects with conviction and integrity.