Involving Design Students in Design Research: Making Things for Knowing Things

DS 62: Proceedings of E&PDE 2010, the 12th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education - When Design Education and Design Research meet ..., Trondheim, Norway, 02.-03.09.2010

Year: 2010
Editor: Boks W; Ion, W; McMahon, C and Parkinson B
Author: Pasman, Gert; Boess, Stella
Page(s): 486-491


This paper describes and reflects on experiences of educating design students in doing research as part of their design process. It specifically looks at the value of making things as a means to generate knowledge and how this activity can thus be used to involve students in design research. It is argued that because making things for design is something design students love and are experienced with, using it for in a research context could catalyze their interest in design research. Making things for research, however, requires a different perspective from the students, who are trained to consider the objects they make as tentative representations of their final design, rather than instruments which enable them to acquire a better understanding of certain contexts, processes or phenomena. Having students become aware of this switch in perspective and, subsequently, of its implications for the qualities of the objects they design, is therefore considered an important aspect of successfully applying their design skills for research purposes. Examples from a course in which students were stimulated to make things to research are presented and reflected upon. Based on these experiences a number of recommendations for design educators involved in teaching design research are listed.

Keywords: Research through design, design research, prototyping, interaction design


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