Historical Analysis

A history is an account of a past event or combination of events (Wyche, Sengers, Grinter 2006). Historical analysis is a method of learning, from records and accounts, what happened in the past (Marshall, Rossman 1998). When researching historical data, researches use various sources to gain valuable insights into different cultures and societies as well as people’s values and belief systems. Historical analysis is useful for a designer in order to understand social stereotypes as well as important historical events and movements such as feminism. Similarly, historical analysis is important in creating innovative designs; learning from past failures and successes.

Citation Reference: Marshall, C. and Rossman, G.B 1998, Designing Qualitative Research, Newbury Park, CA, Sage Publications, Inc.

Contributor: Katelyn De La Coeur, 2013

When designing household products, a historical analysis was deployed to unpack “the culture of the home”, to understand social constructs regarding gender roles and to research pre-existing domestic products (Wyche, Sengers, Grinter 2006). Research in this area involved extensive literature reviews, media studies, the study of historical events as well as open discussion with older generations to “elicit oral histories”. Findings presented both positive and negative insights, offering the designers an opportunity to bring forth progressive change. By reflecting on history, useful insights where identified that aided in the generation of innovative design solutions for a contemporary consumer market.

Citation Reference: Wyche, S, Sengers, P, Grinter, E, R 2006, Historical Analysis: Using the Past to Design the Future, P . Dourish and A. Friday (Eds.): Ubicomp 2006, LNCS 4206, pg. 35 – 51

Contributor: Katelyn De La Coeur, 2013

In a literature review regarding gender stereotypes in children’s book, Mary Hutchinson uses historical analysis to draw comparisons between Dick and Jane books, and the subsequent effects these books had on the gender development on woman who read them as children (Hutchinson 2010). Hutchinson was interested in how women’s sexual identity was affected by books reflecting strong social gender stereotypes. She found some women, who read Dick and Jane as children, between 1946- 1964), could see a strong connection between gender roles presented to them in the books, and their own values and beliefs regarding gender roles as adults.

Citation Reference: Hutchinson, L, M 2010, Gender Role Stereotypes in The Dick and Jane Basal Reader Series and Sustained Impression Upon Women of the Baby Boom Generation, Widener University, United Sates, ProQuest, UMI Number 3452443

Contributor: Katelyn De La Coeur, 2013