10 characteristics of good design research

DESIGN RESEARCH

  1. Disruptive: viewing the world in alternative futures/new perspectives
  2. Useful: it must serve a defined purpose
  3. Messy: good design makes you think and this is inherently messy/ it requires untangling using approaches that do not oversimplify
  4. Political: it must clarify its stance on the world’s significant challenges
  5. Impactful: it must create an affect on, a change or a benefit
  6. Critical: it must challenge perspectives
  7. Enduring: it should provide us with a profound revolution in viewing the world not just hot topics
  8. Does not need qualification: the importance of design research lies in its rigor, relevance, quality and impact not in its particular types of design
  9. Thoughtful: it should address difficult issues
  10. Clear: it must be self-explanatory

 

References

Paul Rogers, Joyce S.R. Yee, 2016. Design Research is Alive and Kicking… In Proceedings of DRS 2016: Design + Research + Society Future–Focused Thinking, (eds Peter Lloyd and Erik Bohemia), Published by the Design Research Society, pp.

Image available here

About the image:

The design research map is defined and described by two intersecting dimensions. One is defined by approach and the other is defined by mind-set. Approaches to design research have come from a research-led perspective (shown at the bottom of the map) and from a design-led perspective (shown at the top of the map). The research-led perspective has the longest history and has been driven by applied psychologists, anthropologists, sociologists and engineers. The design-led perspective, on the other hand, has come into view more recently.

There are two opposing mindsets evident in the practice of design research today. The left side of the map describes a culture characterized by an expert mind-set. Design researchers here are involved with designing FOR people. These design researchers consider themselves to be the experts and they see and refer to people as “subjects”, users”, “consumers”, etc. The right side of the map describes a culture characterized by a participatory mind-set. Design researchers on this side design WITH people. They see the people as the true experts in domains of experience such as living, learning, working, etc. Design researchers who have a participatory mind-set value people as co-creators in the design process. It is difficult for many people to move from the left to the right side of the map (or vice versa) as this shift entails a significant cultural change. (Richard Anderson, 2011)

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