Design Research Notes: a new platform for design research quality discussions

Phil Cash, Jaap Daalhuizen, and Laura Hay are pleased to announce a new initiative for the design community: Design Research Notes. Research Notes are short papers, motivated by the growing need for design research to more actively reflect on, celebrate, and build research quality to mature as a field. 

Design research is almost uniquely positioned to provide rich research insights from multiple perspectives, with the potential for wide-ranging scientific and societal impact. Research Notes aim to enhance and celebrate design research quality while fostering this diversity of approaches and views. Our intention is to provide a dedicated platform for research quality discussion, that is both accessible and reflexive; develop concrete, actionable guidance that can be used to improve design research practice; and help in accelerating and democratizing the evolution of design research practices across the community. Research Notes are open to all design (and related) researchers, encouraging critical discussions of design in the wider research landscape and increasing the visibility and impact of design research across fields.

The initiative has so far received an overwhelming degree of interest and positive support from across the community, including researchers from The Design Society and Design Research Society; at different career stages including PhD, mid-, and more senior; and reflecting almost every methodological and philosophical background in the field. The initial call for abstracts attracted more than 140 researchers!

You can read the first issue of Research Notes in Design Studies here. This collection takes a starting point in nine major themes, identified through an international workshop with over 40 authors and discussed in detail in the editorial here

  • knowledge construction and asking the right questions
  • interdisciplinary interactions
  • research method selection, use, and development
  • standards, reporting and replicability
  • research impact on practice and education
  • design research identity and future agenda
  • research ethics
  • mapping and understanding development in design research; and
  • studies of design methods. 

However, these are by no means exhaustive, and we encourage new themes and discussions. 

You can now submit a Research Note to Design Studies at any time, with author instructions available on this page. As members of The Design Society, we see the Research Notes as a great opportunity for society authors to move the field forward and contribute to increasing the rigour, visibility, and impact of design research.

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