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Graduate education, research, and the interior design profession




Lawlor, Patti J., author
Birdsong, Craig, advisor
Sheafor, Bradford W., committee member
Makela, Carole J., committee member

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Irrespective of the field, all professions are made up of different components that set a standard for the discipline. These components include, but are not limited to, accreditation, examination, licensing, and research. The foundation of these components lies in the standardized esoteric body of knowledge the profession holds. The knowledge base of a profession is created, maintained, and expanded through scholarly research. When individuals have received proper training, the creation and documentation of new information can be conducted in all areas of a profession: education, business, and industry. Training to be a conductor of research is typically acquired through graduate education. The objective of this study was to ascertain perceptions of interior design practitioners concerning the components of a profession as previously listed, their importance to the interior design practitioner and advantage to the profession as a whole. In addition, graduate education and research were the focus to gauge the commitment of interior design to the components of the profession. Questionnaires were mailed to companies meeting study criteria from the "100 Giants 1996'' as listed in Interior Design magazine. A 54 percent return rate was acquired. The data were analyzed using frequencies, percentages, means, standard deviations, Spearman Rho correlations, and chi-squares. Analysis of the data revealed practitioners perceived an importance and advantage for each of the components of a profession, with the exception of graduate education. Practitioners had stronger perceptions of the importance and advantage of research to the profession and practitioner than they did of the importance and advantage of graduate education. Based on the findings and the review of literature, recommendations such as design firms should encourage and support the components of the profession were made. Additionally, recommendations were made for practitioners, academic programs and educators, graduate students in interior design, and professional organizations.


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Interior decoration -- Vocational guidance
Interior decorators


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