Deconstructing design research

Rodgers, Paul A. and Conerney, Loura and Mazzarella, Francesco (2019) Deconstructing design research. Design Journal, 22 (Suppl.). pp. 1287-1303. ISSN 1756-3062 (

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This paper presents a novel conceptual framework for assessing design research projects. Present-day design research is typified by projects, which traverse disciplinary, methodological, and conceptual boundaries that often have wide-ranging social, cultural, and economic impact to industry, government bodies, and the wider public. Given design's application in addressing serious issues ranging from antimicrobial resistance to mobility, from ageing to migration it can be difficult to understand and unpick the exact nature and scale of design research and the roles that design researchers and designing (both processes and outcomes) play. The design research conceptual framework has been developed as a communicative tool for illustrating levels of design involvement in a project. The paper highlights the design input involved in current design research and provides a comparative measure of design's role in a wide range of projects that fall under the umbrella term of "design research" in the UK.