Questions Without an Answer(12-13)

Integrative Seminar Week 12-13


(Note: I decided to combine two classes into one since the process was connected. I did not wish to break the flow between them. It also helped me compare and contrast my progress between the two classes,as shown below.)

For today’s class, we were to come up with 5 enquiry questions related to Mind Map B ( Our second map, related to a specific element within our discipline). Since the element I’d chosen was Injection Moulding, I came up with a few questions regarding Moulding.

  1. Can all materials be moulded?
  2. What kind of moulds are the easiest to make?
  3. How did people achieve uniformity without moulds?
  4. What shapes cannot be moulded?
  5. Which industries would collapse if injection moulding is
  6. Which scientific principles are involved in injection

These questions were pretty basic, and I realized that myself.The following weekend, I received a list of design contexts I could use in my questions, and essentially turn these ‘enquiries’ into ‘inquiries’. This list proved to be greatly helpful, since I was having trouble understanding what a design context really meant, and how I could amalgamate it with my inquiry question.The list included terms like:economy, culture,rituals and practices, physical and chemical properties, scientific concepts related to the topic, geography. One interesting term that I came across while going through the list was a ‘watershed moment’. I learnt that a watershed moment is used to describe a turning point in time. It could be the rise or decline of a company, a sudden increase in significance of a product, etc. After learning the meaning, I associated the term with rises and falls of items that I’d used throughout the years. For example, there was a time when all the corporate snobs in the world owned a Blackberry(Including my mom, let’s pray she doesn’t come across this). The watershed moment for the brand was when everyone suddenly realized that it was a no-nonsense phone with greater security and a very specific target audience.I also had a conversation with my mom about how she still misses that phone.

After the discussion with the faculty on the 16th, and looking at some peers’ questions that were approved, I understood what I exactly had to do. I researched about how a research question should be framed. Turns out there’s entire sites and articles that give tutorials on how to frame a research question. I read through a few, and learnt the importance of starting the question with a ‘What’ or a ‘How’. I also understood that a research question cannot be something which already has an answer, i.e something that will give a straightforward result when googled. On the other hand, it also cannot be a question that is too vague and generic.For example,”How far is the Sun?” will immediately give me 150 million km as the answer, while “Can all black holes eat all stars?” is something not specific enough and sounds like a waste of time. So I re-wrote all of my questions, essentialy converting them from an enquiry to an inquiry.

  1. How does the melting point of a material affect the ease with which it can be
    moulded? (Scientific principle)
  2. How will the newer ‘scientific’ method of injection moulding help improve the current
    status of this industry? (technology, economy)
  3. How did people achieve uniformity in objects without the existence of moulding?
    (historical significance)
  4. What lifestyle and events led to a spike in the usage of moulded plastic items?
    (psychology, watershed moments, post-war history)
  5. How have plastic giants like Tupperware dealt with the negative connotation that now
    comes with the mention of plastic? (economy, sustainability, company values)
  6. How can bioplastics transform the current plastic moulding industry? (sustainability,

If you compare the first set versus the second, the difference is obvious. My second set is very specific to a certain topic, includes a field I can research in,and is not something that already has an existing straightforward answer. One other thing that helped me frame these besides my own research was the discipline specific reading sent on the group for us to read. These helped me understand how to answer the questions that were asked and how to use research done on a topic in the paper. I also noticed that all the papers I read were written in a very specific format. So I realized that we probably would have to write our research and cite the references in the same way as it were in this paper.

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