Apparel Design Research: Involving Undergraduate Students

By Elaine L. Pedersen and Leslie Davis Burns.

Published by The International Journal of Design Education

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Understanding the purpose and process of research, particularly programmatic research to aid in design problem solving, is important not only to graduate, but also to undergraduate students. Shortly after developing a research project to investigate the relationships among selected personal values, perceived social influences on those values, and the functional/performance aspects of uniforms worn by female student-athletes, the authors realized they had the perfect opportunity for involving undergraduate students in the research experience. Seven undergraduate students were involved with data collection and analysis for one of five different women’s sports uniforms: basketball, crewing/rowing, golf, gymnastics, and volleyball. Research skills learned by students included: developing a purpose statement and review of literature, interviewing, analyzing semi-structured interview results, and developing a research report. Students also developed their communication and critical thinking skills. As a result of their data analysis, they compared design changes in competitive uniforms for “their” sport across the twentieth century, athletes’ perceptions relative to the uniform and their performance, and the functional requirements of the designed uniform. As part of the research process, students learned what characteristics of uniform design were important and made recommendations for changes in the design of the uniforms.

Keywords: Apparel Design, Design Research, Undergraduate Research

The International Journal of Design Education, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp.41-45. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 321.821KB).

Dr. Elaine L. Pedersen

Associate Professor, Department of Design and Human Environment, Oregon State University, Corvallis, USA

Dr. Elaine L. Pedersen’s specialization is the historic and cultural aspects of material culture. Her scholarship includes: textile design reflecting her interest in culture and history, research on 19th century Far Western dress in the U.S., explorations on the process of theory development, and concept analyses of creativity and theory. She received her BA from the University of Washington, her MA from Michigan State University, and her PhD from the University of Minnesota.

Dr. Leslie Davis Burns

Professor, Design and Human Environment, Oregon State University, Corvallis, USA

Leslie Davis Burns is professor of design and merchandising in the School of Design and Human Environment at Oregon State University. She holds a BA from Washington State University and PhD in consumer sciences and retailing from Purdue University. Her research interests focus on consumers’ responses to designed environments, fashion theory, and topics related to the domestic and international textile and apparel industries.