Introduction To Design Research

Design research can be done during any phase of the design process. It requires a specific way of thinking to reason from your design question to conclusions relevant for your design process. Many different research approaches can be applied during a design process. However, the global manner of setting up a study is usually very similar.

This assignment will teach students to go through this process by providing underlying theories and showing how this can be applied to a real design research study. The assignment will be taught by 1 assignor from each of the four design research groups of the faculty to show the diversity of design research approaches.

Learning Activities

Following lectures and workshops that cover the main steps of the design research process.

  1. Design Research in the various phases of a design process
  2. Phrasing design research questions
  3. Choosing research approaches
  4. Data gathering techniques
  5. Descriptive data analysis
  6. Drawing design relevant conclusions
  7. Writing up Design Research

In addition, the students will read literature about design research approach and methods and discuss diverse approaches to design research. They will conduct one design research study and reporting on it in a report and a verbal presentation. Students will select a topic for a study from a set of topics provided by the four assignors.


  • Report about design research set-up.
  • Final report of design research study in the form of a paper.

List of Available Reference and or Background Materials

The structure of the assignment is based on the book:

  • Research Methodology, A step-by-step guide for beginners, by Ranjit Kumar, published by Sage Publications Ltd. (ISBN 0 7619 6213 1).
  • Moustakas, C., 1994. Phenomenological research methods. Sage publications.
  • Emans, B., 1990. Interviewen: theorie, techniek en training. Wolters-Noordhoff.
  • Imre Horváth (2007) Comparison Of Three Methodological Approaches Of Design Research, International Conference On Engineering Design
  • Smithson, M. (2000). Statistics with confidence. London: Sage Publications.

Literature on the design research topics will be provided at the time of the assignment.

Assignor Information

  • Tilde Bekker is assistant professor of the User Centred Engineering group at ID. She has experience with a wide range of design research approaches, such as case study research, controlled experiments and exploratory research studies.
  • Ilse Luyk is assistant professor at the Business Process Design group at ID.
  • Christoph Bartneck is assistant professor at the Designed Intelligence group at ID.
  • Marco Rozendaal is assistant professor at the Designing Quality in Interaction group at ID.


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