"We differentiate research artifacts from design practice artifacts in two important ways. First, the intent going into the research is to produce knowledge for the research and practice communities, not to make a commercially viable product. To this end, we expect research projects that take this research through design approach will ignore or deemphasize perspectives in framing the problem, such as the detailed economics associated with manufacturability and distribution, the integration of the product into a product line, the effect of the product on a company’s identity, etc. In this way design researchers focus on making the right things, while design practitioners focus on making commercially successful things.
Second, research contributions should be artifacts that demonstrate significant invention. The contributions should be novel integrations of theory, technology, user need, and context; not just refinements of products that already exist in the research literature or commercial markets. The contribution must demonstrate a significant advance through the integration. This aspect of a design research contribution makes particular sense in the interaction design space of HCI. Meteoric technological advances in hardware and software drive an aggressive invention of novel products in HCI and interaction design domains that are not as aggressively experienced by other design domains. While product designers might find themselves redesigning office furniture to meet the changing needs of work, interaction designers more often find themselves tasked with inventing whole new product categories.
Our model of design research allows interaction design researchers to do what designers do best: to study the world and then to make things intended to affect change. Our model provides a new channel for the power of design thinking, desired by many disciplines, to be unleashed as in a research context. Design researchers can contribute from a position of strength, instead of aping the methods of other disciplines as a means of justifying their research contribution."
(John Zimmerman, Jodi Forlizzi, Shelley Evenson, p.500, 2007)
John Zimmerman, Jodi Forlizzi, and Shelley Evenson (2007). "Research through design as a method for interaction design research in HCI". In Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems (CHI '07). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 493-502. DOI=10.1145/1240624.1240704 http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1240624.1240704
"This is sometimes another stumbling block, particularly to the Romantic notion of the practitioner whose aim is the expression of the self. We need to differentiate between activities that are to do with the personal development of the practitioner and his or her creativity, and activities that are significant for others in the field. It is only an activity that is significant for others that can be regarded as research. Personal development does not make a contribution to the 'advancement of knowledge, understanding and insight', except in the most parochial sense, i.e. my advancement. To illustrate this let us consider the discipline of arts therapies. It is the purpose of arts therapies to improve the well-being of the client through an intervention involving the client doing some kind of arts activity such as painting, music or drama, etc. Whether the client produces art, in the sense of 'a work of art' mentioned above, is irrelevant to the process. The activity is aimed at the personal development and self knowledge of the individual and not at the advancement of knowledge, understanding and insight into some issue shared by others. Of course, the client's case may contribute to the advancement of knowledge in arts therapies, but this would be an outcome for the therapist and not for the client. In addition, the client's productions may subsequently achieve the status of 'works' but this would be incidental to their original function in connection with improved well-being. Thus I would distinguish between (1) art as therapy (for the individual), (2) art as cultural practice (the production of works of art), and (3) art as research (meeting certain criteria under discussion). It is my claim that (1) and (3), that is, art as therapy and art as research, are mutually exclusive. I should emphasise that this does not mean that I deny that there is such a discipline as arts therapies research!"
(Michael A. R. Biggs, 2003, Practice as Research in Performance)
"In practical terms PRE is a process in which teachers, tutors, lecturers and other education professionals systematically enquire into their own institutional practices in order to produce assessable reports and artefacts which are submitted for academic credits leading to the awarding of degrees, certificates and diplomas of universities, colleges and professional associations."
(Louis Murray and Brenda Lawrence, 2000, p.10)
Murray, L., & Lawrence, B. (2000). Practitioner-based enquiry: Principles for postgraduate research. London: Falmer Press.