Designing research tools : empirical knowledge as a base for future beekeeping.

DOGU, D, PINTO, R, OZCAN, A, VIERA, J, ATKINSON, Paul and CARVALHAIS, M (2016). Designing research tools : empirical knowledge as a base for future beekeeping. In: “Survival”: UD16, 5th Phd In Design Research Meeting, Aveiro, Portugal, 22-23 July 2016. (Unpublished)

Designing Research Tools_ Empirical knowledge as a base for future beekeeping_full paper.pdf - Accepted Version
All rights reserved.

Download (424kB) | Preview
Official URL:


The world-wide phenomenon of the disappearance of bees with the consequential imbalance of ecosystems is a problem that needs to be addressed in order to guarantee a sustainable future. Beekeeping is an activity, generally associated to agriculture, that allows small farmers to generate more food and income, this reality has had a shift in recent years with the number of small beekeepers decreasing, and big corporations gaining control over the industry. Regulations and the Colony Collapse Disorder, among other factors, may have a major role in these phenomena. With the intent to contribute to a more sustainable beekeeping practice, this research is being conducted to better understand this reality, looking for design driven opportunities. The challenge is to gain a deeper understanding of the beekeepers, a practice that is understudied by designers, particularly considering in-depth research methods. This paper discusses an experimental design study in the Turkish Aegean region that was conducted with local beekeepers to better understand the existing specifications: by discussing their business models, in order to understand and analyze socio-cultural factors that contributed to the existing system, and propose changes for a more sustainable practice. As a starting point for a first phase survey, the intent is to generate original data which will serve as the foundation for future works. Beekeepers in this scenario are mainly senior male farmers that belong to a low literacy audience, who learned the practice from their predecessors. In order to identify the problems of beekeepers, we needed to design and adjust our research methods according to the specifications of the audience. For this reason, a three stage inquiry was designed to better communication in order to extract measurable data from their empirical knowledge through a series of workshops. The case study reports the workshop sessions for identifying the design strategies with a focus on voicing the beekeepers problems. The first level draws upon explicit knowledge to identify the audience. For the second level an illustrated questionnaire was designed to visually represent the quantitative data about the business. The process is exercised with a new design because the content of knowledge is tacit and personal. Finally, the third level is an interview session to validate the data gathered from the previous stages. This paper will present the findings of the workshops with the aim to formulate an appropriate way to employ new approaches to exploring and defining design problems with visual representations. We also seek to extend our research in other contexts that will help discuss the role of design as a tool for developing new methodologies of design research. As a consequence we will propose prototypes of artifacts that will consider the implementation into beekeeping of new biomaterials, technology, branding and commercialization planning, etc., that may help create a more sustainable beekeeping practice. Beekeepers will be invited to analyze proposals and give their contributions. This process will render into redesigned optimized artifacts that will merge empirical knowledge with the needs of sustainable beekeeping. Keywords design research tools, beekeeping, sustainability, eco-innovation, cooperation

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information: Abstract published in Conference Abstracts book ISBN: 978-972-789-486-4
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Cultural Communication and Computing Research Institute > Art and Design Research Centre
Depositing User: Paul Atkinson
Date Deposited: 28 Nov 2016 09:30
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 06:01

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics