Design Research (2015 Summer) 设计研究

[updated on Jun 10, 2015]

Introduction 简介

(1) Understand design: Scope; Perspectives; Design concepts & processes; Issues of design; Aesthetics, quality, low cost, environment, sustainability, etc.

(2)Learn theory and methods: Design thinking; Design models; Creativity methods (Brainstorming, TRIZ, etc.); Decision-making and evaluation.

(3)Propose a design research project: Convince audience that project is worth doing; Convince audience that you can do it.

Course Language 课程语言

English 英语

Course Organization 上课方式

Last week’s reading sharing (oral presentation)

Lecture for next week:Current knowledge and practice; examples

In-class Q&A’s and discussions

Grading Policy 考核方式

In-class Participation: 30% Attendance, Q&A, Discussion

Papers Review Presentation: 40% (No less than 20 min presentation).

Research Proposal Presentation: 40% (No less than 20 min presentation).

Schedule 课程计划

Week 1: Pilot;What is design

Changing definitions of design? Is there a scientific definition of “design”? Why design is so hard to define? The boundary of design (What is not design)?


(1)Bas Leurs. Design Theory, Lecture 01: What is design? (slides)

(2)Dubberly, Hugh (2004). How do you design? A Compendium of Models. Dubberly Design Office, San Francisco CA.


Work in groups(no more than 4 students in one group). Prepare a presentation, share in class: 

(1)Readings review: What is Design?
(2)Your design concept (Door as a media or Mosquito in cars )
(3) Your group’s design as a response to the question “What is Design”.

Week 2: Design experience to “what is Design”

Presentation of  Door design. Discussion of design perspectives and trends.


Work in groups as previously. Prepare a presentation, share in class:

(1)Readings review: How do you design a compendium of models

(2)Your experience of design process (pick up one applicable model from the reading).

Week 3 Design as process

What are the different “problem-solving strategies”  applied by scientists and designers? Why do designers behave so distinguishably? How do they work?
(slides valid for one week 链接: 密码: t3qb)


(1)Atman, C. J., Chimka, J. R., Bursic, K. M., & Nachtman, H. L. (1999). A Comparison of freshman and senior engineering design processes. Design Studies, 20 (2), 131-152.

(2)Mehalik, M.M. & C. Schunn (2006). “What constitutes good design? A review of empirical studies of design processes.” International Journal of Engineering Education, 22 (3), Special Issue on Learning and Engineering Design.

(3)Mosborg, S., R. Adams, R. Kim, C. J. Atman, J. Turns & M. Cardella (2005). “Conceptions of the Engineering Design Process: An Expert Study of Advanced Practicing Professionals,” Proceedings of the Annual American Society of Engineering Education Conference, Portland, June.

(4)Dorst, K. & Cross, N. (2001). “Creativity in the design process: co-evolution of problem-solution.” Design Studies,22 (5), pp. 425-437.


Work in groups, select at least one reading from Week 4’s list, prepare a presentation with the theme of “My understanding of ‘design as learning’ “. 

Week 4: Design as learning


(1)Dorst, K. and Lawson, B. (2009). Design Expertise. Architectural Press. Chapter 2: Understanding design.

(2)Schön, D. A. (1993). The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think in Action Basic Books, New York. Selected chapters.

(3)Teams: Valkenburg, R. (1998). The Reflective Practice of Design Teams. Design Studies, 19, 3, pp. 249-271.

(4) Adams, R. S., Turns, J. and Atman, C. J. (2003). “Educating effective engineering designers: The role of reflective practice”. Design Studies, Special Issue on Designing in Context, 24(3), pp. 275-294.

(5)* Dorst, K., & Dijkhuis, J. (1995). Comparing paradigms for describing design activity. Design Studies, 16(2), 261–274.


Work in groups, select at least one reading from Week 5’s list, prepare a presentation with the theme of “My understanding of ‘design as a social process’ “.

Week 5: Design as a social process


(1)Brereton, M. F., Cannon, D. M., Mabogunje, A., & Leifer, L. J. (1996). Collaboration in design teams: How social interaction shapes the product. In H. C. N. Cross, K. Dorst (Ed.), Analysing design activity . Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.

(2)Stumpf, S.C. & McDonnel, J.T. (2002). Talking about team framing: Using argumentation to analyse and support experimental learning in early design. Design Studies, 23 (1), pp. 5-23.

(3) Kleinsmann, M., Buijs, J., & Valkenburg, R. (2010). Understanding the complexity of knowledge integration in collaborative new product development teams: A case study. Journal of Engineering and Technology Management, 27(1–2), 20–32.

(4)Kleinsmann, M., and Valkenburg, R. (2008). “Barriers and enablers for creating shared understanding in co-design projects.” Design Studies, 29, 269-386.

(5)* Bucciarelli, L. L. (1996). Designing engineers. Cambridge: MIT Press. Chapter 1-2, 6.

(6)* Cross, N., & Clayburn Cross, A. (1995). Observations of teamwork and social processes in design. Design Studies, 16(2), 143–170.


Work in groups, select at least one reading from Week 6’s list, prepare a presentation with the theme of “Research method and findings of  ‘design as cognition’ “.

Week 6: Design as cognition


(1)Huang, Y. (2007). Investigating the cognitive behavior of generating idea sketches through neural network systems. Design Studies, 29, pp. 70-92.

(2)Ball, L.J. and Christensen, B.T. (2008). Analogical reasoning and mental simulation in design: two strategies linked to uncertainty resolution. Design Studies, 30, pp. 169-186.

(3)Kim, M.H., Kim, Y.S., Lee, H.S., and Park, J.A. (2007). An underlying cognitive aspect of design creativity: Limited Commitment Mode control strategy. Design Studies, 28, pp 585-604.

(4)Jin, Y. and Cusilp, P. (2005). “Study of mental iteration in different design situations.” Design Studies, 27, pp. 25-55.

(5)*Hunt, E.B. (2002). Précis of Thought on Thought. New Jersey: Lawrence Earlbaum. Selected chapters.

(6)*National Research Council (2000). How people learn: Brain, mind, experience, and school, Expanded edition.

(7)*Committee on Developments in the Science of Learning. J.D. Bransford, A.L. Brown, and R.R. Cocking (Eds.), with additional material from the Committee on Learning Research and Educational Practice. Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: National Academy Press. Chapter 2.

Week 7: Design as exploration


(1)Björn Hartmann, Loren Yu, Abel Allison, Yeonsoo Yang, and Scott R. Klemmer. 2008. Design as exploration: creating interface alternatives through parallel authoring and runtime tuning. InProceedings of the 21st annual ACM symposium on User interface software and technology (UIST ’08). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 91-100. DOI=10.1145/1449715.1449732

(2)Jeffrey Bardzell and Shaowen Bardzell. 2013. What is “critical” about critical design?. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’13). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 3297-3306. DOI=10.1145/2470654.2466451

(3)Kristina Höök and Jonas Löwgren. 2012. Strong concepts: Intermediate-level knowledge in interaction design research. ACM Trans. Comput.-Hum. Interact. 19, 3, Article 23 (October 2012), 18 pages. DOI=10.1145/2362364.2362371

(4)Ditte Amund Basballe and Kim Halskov. 2012. Dynamics of research through design. InProceedings of the Designing Interactive Systems Conference (DIS ’12). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 58-67. DOI=10.1145/2317956.2317967

Week X: Design as X


(1)Sanders, E.B. (2006). Design Research in 2006. Design Research Quarterly, Vol 1(1), September, pp. 1-8. (

Human-centered selection:

(2)Krippendorf, K. (2006). The Semantic Turn: A New Foundation for Design. Boca Raton: Taylor and Francis. Chapter 2.

(3)Norman, D. A. (2002). Emotion and design: Attractive things work better. Interactions Magazine, ix (4), 36-42.

(4)Norman, D.A. (2004). Emotional Design: Why we love (or hate) everyday things. New York: Basic Books. Chapter 1.1 – Attractive things work better.

Sustainability selection:

(5)Mann,L., Radcliffe, D. and G. Dall’Alba (2007). “Experiences of sustainable design among practicing engineers: Implications for engineering education.” Proceedings of the annual ASEE Conference, Hawaii, June.
A reading from Harvey Mudd Design Education Workshop on Sustainability.

Participatory design selection:

(6)Carroll, John M. (2006). “Dimensions of Participation in Simon’s Design.” Design Issues, 22, 2, pp 3-18.

(7) Cahill, C. (2007). “Including excluded perspectives in participatory action research.” Design Studies, 28, pp. 325-340.


Week 6: Design as (a way of) thinking

(1)Dorst, K. (2004). “The problem of design problems – problem solving and design expertise. Journal of Design Research, Vol. 4, Issue 2.

(2)Goel, V. & Pirolli, P. (1992). “The Structure of Design Problem Spaces.” Cognitive Science 16, pp. 395-429.
Jonassen, D.H. (2000). “Toward a Design Theory of Problem Solving.” Educational Technology: Research & Development, 48 (4), pp. 63-85.

(3)Conklin, J., Basadur, M., and Van Patter, G. (2008 (accessed Oct-2008). “Rethinking Wicked Problems: Unpacking Paradigms, Bridging Universes.” NextD Journal,

(4)Rittel, H., & Webber, M. (1973). Dilemmas in a general theory of planning. Policy Sciences, 4(2), 155-169.

(5)Thomas, J. C., & Carroll, J. M. (1979). The psychological study of design. Design Studies, 1(1), 5-11.
Harfield, S. (2006). “On design ‘problematization’: Theorising differences in designed outcomes.” Design Studies, 28, pp. 159-173.

(6)Visser, W. (2008). “Design: one, but in different forms.” Design Studies, 30, pp 187-223.



Week 7-8: Research Proposal Sharing

Research Proposal Sharing: (1)Convince audience that project is worth doing; (2)Convince audience that you are capable of carrying it out

Help your audience understand the motivation for your idea: (1)Broadly: what is the problem? What is its significance?(2)Specifically: how have your zeroed in on a well-defined research question? What about your project is novel, relative to prior work?

Help your audience appreciate the merits of your approach: (1)Provide a clear overview of the scope of your plan: be realistic, not over ambitious; (2)Propose pertinent experiments with good controls; (3)Explain your methods succinctly; (4)Demonstrate the kind of data you might see, show how they will illuminate your central question; (5)Offer alternative solutions/backup plan