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Design Research

These are some notes on the nature of design research.


I wrote a paper in 2009 that identified 72 types of design research. These are not conventional definitions.

Based on the existing literature, there seem to be three main kinds of design research.

Research about design: This is the focus of my own work, and involves studying design as a phenomenon. It can be also thought of as design science - the science of design, a systematic, evidence- and theory-based explanation of how design happens.

Research in design: This is research carried out as part of a design process; it is part of design practise, where research is conducted to inform a design task.

Research through design: This is research that uses design as a tool. One example of this type of work is so-called design of experiments in which experiments are designed to fit into a larger research program.

To Do

  • TODO Go through my paper and enumerate all 72 types of design research.
  • TODO Investigate figure in Einfuhrung in die Konstruktionswissenschaft, 1992, p 58-59, by Hubka & Eder. Shows over 50 elements that play a role in design science and that have to be organized into a science.
  • TODO Read Duffy & Andreasen 1995 (ICED).
    • They pose, as I do, that designers activities are a phenomenon of study, and that analysis of the descriptive models of these phenomena lead to new methods that change the phenomena.
  • TODO Read Blessing et al (95) A design research methodology (ICED)
    • Similarly, they suggest we study designing for the sake of improving it.
research/design_research.txt · Last modified: 2020.03.12 13:30 (external edit)