Writing-up Research Through Design: An approach to research report writing in early level postgraduate education



Design Education Research


  • research, methodology


In Christopher’s Frayling’s seminal account of design-orientated research, he lists research for design, research through design and research about design as the primary modes of research in the field of design. At least since Frayling termed these concepts in 1993, design educators globally have grappled with supervising research through design. While there are many accounts of research through design, few provide clear theory as to how the approach may be applied, least of all in design education. In the field of human-computer interaction, Zimmerman et al. provide multiple methodological suggestions for practising research through design, however, with a focus on HCI practitioners and the core concepts dispersed over a range of publications, their method can be difficult to grasp.

In response to this concern, this paper provides an outline of a novel adaption of Zimmerman et al.’s research through design method. In support of this amended method, fundamental principles of research through design are introduced and discussed, as well as an in-depth description of the research through design. Through these activities, this paper addresses the lack of a clear method for research through design practice in general and particularly, how to apply research through design in early level postgraduate education.

Keywords: design research, research through design, research methodology and methods, design education


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