Academic journal article Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences

Relationship between Introductory Interior Design Curricula and Content of Introductory Interior Design Textbooks

Academic journal article Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences

Relationship between Introductory Interior Design Curricula and Content of Introductory Interior Design Textbooks

Article excerpt

Abstract: This study examined what is being taught by interior design educators (146 Interior Design Educators Council members) in their first two introductory interior design courses This information was related to topics covered in a select group of seven introductory Interior Design textbooks. The findings showed that the educators checked most frequently the following subject areas for: (1) competencyelements/principles of design, plans/ elevations/sections, lettering; (2) understanding-design analysis/synthesis/programming, space planning, residential design, plans/elevations/sections, human factors-ergonomics/anthropometrics; and (3) awareness-ecological concerns historical preservation, lighting, HVAC, codes/regulations The findings indicated that none of the selected textbooks completely met the needs of educators teaching the first two introductory Interior Design courses The principle weaknesses in the texts were the failure to address the graphic needs of the beginning Interior Design student and the failure to report industry issues and consumer needs in such areas as human factors, ecological concerns, historical preservation, and codes and regulations.

he goals of this study were to examine what is being taught in the first two introductory Interior Design courses by educators in Interior Design programs in North America and to relate this information to the topics found in Interior Design introductory textbooks. A previous study by the authors (Potthoff & Woods, 1995) identified the seven introductory textbooks most frequently used by Interior Design educators. These were, in rank order: (1) Interior Design (Pile, 1988); (2) Designing Interiors (Kilmer & Kilmer, 1992); (3) Inside Today's Home (Faulkner, Nissen, & Faulkner, 1986); (4) Interiors:An Introduction (Nielson & Taylor, 1990); (5) Beginnings of Interior Environment (Allen & Stimpson, 1994); (6) Interior Design Illustrated (Ching, 1987); and (7) Inside Today's Home (Nissen, Faulkner, & Faulkner, 1994).

The sample for the textbook study was drawn from Interior Design Educators Council (IDEC) members. Although seven books were identified as the most frequently used, the first study indicated 77 individual book titles were identified by the 121 respondents. This finding indicates educators are using many different textbooks to teach the introductory Interior Design courses. The authors also examined the topics covered in the texts and the amount of information devoted to each topic. Interestingly, the seven most frequently used textbooks have similar topic content. However, the amount of coverage given to each topic did vary among the texts.

In March 1995, the study's findings were presented at IDEC's National Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. At the close of the presentation, conference participants suggested it would be a good idea to actually determine what was being taught in introductory Interior Design courses. Perhaps this could serve as a guide to textbook authors.

The present study specifically asks educators (again, IDEC members) what they are teaching in the first two introductory Interior Design courses in their programs. The purpose of the study was to ascertain if what is being taught in the classroom relates to the topics and the amount of coverage found in the seven textbooks. This information could allow educators to use the present texts with confidence, knowing the materials meet their needs. On the other hand, the findings could identify new topics that textbook authors should consider when writing new introductory Interior Design texts or revising existing editions.


The 1995-1996 IDEC membership (564 members) was mailed a questionnaire with a cover letter and return stampedaddressed envelope. Each member was asked to respond (or pass the survey to a colleague who teaches an introductory design course) to questions about the first two Interior Design courses in his or her program (lecture and/or studio). …

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