Towards the formulation of a research question

Guidance through the glass bead game of research design

Authored by: Rachael Luck

The Routledge Companion to Design Research

Print publication date:  October  2014
Online publication date:  October  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415706070
eBook ISBN: 9781315758466
Adobe ISBN: 9781317636250


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The notion that there might be a template, some kind of script detailing a plan for action, which can be transferred from one research project to another, does have some appeal. Research processes, however, are not that prescriptive. Design research, furthermore, straddles very different approaches to research and will ask different kinds of questions when studying: designers in practice, aspects in design history, critical design, research as design and other fields in the design research canon. Each project will have its own research design, detailing a researcher’s reasoning in the selection and application of theory and methods in a particular way to address a specific research question. The notion, then, of applying a model or ‘boilerplate’ that can be universally mapped onto any research project is misleading, without oversimplifying the work that is involved in the production and presentation of knowledge. Design, like any other field of enquiry, is in the midst of debate in the philosophy of science and, given changes in philosophic fashion, this debate is necessarily incomplete (White, 2011 p. xv, Edwards et al., 1995). Design research, it has also been argued, has its own nature (Archer, 1995, Dilnot, 1998).

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