"Although the debate about disciplinary status has not interrupted the production of innovative design research, as a relatively recent member of academia's 'tribes and territories' (Becher 1989) design is still establishing its disciplinary characteristics as a general research field and a set of specialist sub-fields. There is, for instance, some debate about whether design scholarship should include creative practice and reflection (for a sample of contrasting positions see Bayazit 2004; Downton 2001; Durling 2002; Roth 1999). Since a majority of design issues originate in everyday life individual design research questions are unlikely to fit specific disciplinary boundaries, the idea that design research definitively engages with multiple fields and literatures being widely acknowledged (Poggenpohl et al 2004). These considerations have contributed to the debate as to whether design research should conform to established models from the sciences and humanities or develop its own integral approaches. We suggest, however, that a greater focus on design's applied nature and inherent interdisciplinarity could profitably overtake the quest for disciplinary clarity."
(Carolyn Barnes and Gavin Melles, 2007)
1). Proceedings of 'Emerging Trends in Design Research', the International Association of Societies of Design Research (IASDR) Conference, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, 12-15 November 2007
"Research through design focuses on the role of the product prototype as an instrument of design knowledge enquiry. The prototype can evolve in degrees of granularity, from interactive mockups to fully functional prototypes, as a means to formulate, develop and validate design knowledge. The designer-researcher can begin to explore complex product interaction issues in a realistic user context and reflect back on the design process and decisions made based on actual user-interaction with the test prototype. Observations of how the prototype was experienced may be used to guide research through design as an iterative process, helping to evolve the product prototype."
(David V. Keyson Miguel Bruns Alonso)
David V. Keyson Miguel Bruns Alonso (2009. "Empirical Research Through Design". International Association of Societies of Design Research
"in the ninety years since the creation of the Bauhaus, design educators have constantly challenged the definition of design as a discipline, consequently reshaping the mission and vision of design programs. With the advent of the Bauhaus, design emerged as the integration of artistic methods with scientific principles in order to educate a new generation of artists and craftsmen and better train them to infuse humanistic values into industrial production systems. Later, with the incorporation of design into higher education, it became a self-contained discipline as part of the arts and sciences responsible for the production of knowledge, followed by a process of branching out to multiple specializations within the design discipline. Since then, designers have graduated as experts instrumental in the development of new products and communication strategies demanded by market economies. Curiously, while in the professional context the design discipline has been interpreted as business function, in education, design and business-related disciplines such as marketing, management, and finance were separated by ideological principles and credit distribution requirements. Consequently, the design, business, and liberal arts disciplines were never combined into one program, despite the clear signals that these disciplines are complementary and dependent on each other in terms of imagining new ways of infusing social and environmental principles within resilient production systems regulated by market economies."
(Carlos Teixeira, p.560-561, IASDR 2009)
1). Teixeira, C. (2009). The Entrepreneurial Design Curriculum: Design-based Learning for Knowledge-based Economies. International Association of Societies of Design Research. Seoul, Korea.
"Conference description of the topic: A 2005 education survey by Metropolis Magazine showed no consensus among practitioners or educators about what constitutes design research; limited access to research findings from professional practice; nascent use of students as interns in the research process; and great confusion about what design issues deserve the greatest attention by researchers. Organizers of the 2007 conference of the International Association of Societies of Design Research reported that only 10% of the paper submissions came from Americans, demonstrating that the US is behind other countries in the generation of new knowledge.
Despite this confusion, there is ample evidence that research will play an increasing role in the future of professional practice and that the typical usability testing in labs and focus groups will be insufficient in informing large-scale communication strategies and technological development. Further, it is apparent that design practitioners consider research to be proprietary and that any large-scale dissemination of new knowledge must come from academic institutions.
It is clear, therefore, that much work is yet to be done in building a research culture. Traditionally, undergraduate “research” activities have been defined in terms of existing information retrieval on the subject matter of the communication, the wants and needs of the client, and the technical demands of message production and distribution, little of which is transferrable to other projects. Further, in many programs there is limited curricular distinction between the research behaviors expected of undergraduate and graduate students, leaving the majority of master’s graduates unprepared for the scholarship and knowledge generation demands of current faculty positions in research-driven institutions."
(Judith Gregory, Deborah Littlejohn et al., 10 October 2010)
Moderator Judith Gregory and writer Deborah Littlejohn have a report on Design research: Building a culture from scratch