This paper explores the process of undertaking a PhD within the framework of the UK design education system, by examining it from two different perspectives. The authors come from different educational backgrounds, representing emic and etic perspectives respectively. Their viewpoints are triangulated and used as a basis for discussion around the following question: How well does design education prepare students for research-based activity? In addition, the historically dominant model in design education, which focuses mainly on vocational skills, is interrogated. On the one hand, the authors observe that this model is ill-equipped to provide designers with the critical skills and knowledge required for research-based projects. On the other hand, the authors recognize that traditional research-led education can result in a procedural and cognitive straitjacket. Discussion surrounding these issues will be presented in a case study format and used to inform further discussions on the role and wider influences of research in design education
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