30.505 Design Science

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Introduction of participants through pre­sen­ta­tion of their projects; the nature of de­sign and de­sign re­search; con­cepts and models and schools of de­sign and de­sign­ing; Design Research Meth­od­ol­o­gy (DRM); defining own project; iden­tifying areas of re­le­vance and own con­­tri­bu­tion; formulation of research questions/hy­po­the­ses; establishing reference mod­els; re­search ty­pes; descriptive de­sign research (data col­lec­tion, ana­ly­­sis, interpreta­tion, drawing conclusions); re­lating data collection methods to research ques­tions/hypotheses; the nature and use of theo­ries in de­­­sign; prescriptive phase of design re­search – de­vel­oping knowl­edge, meth­ods, models, tools; vi­sua­li­sing main research ob­ject(s) of own pro­ject; eval­ua­ting re­search re­sults; writing a thesis or other pub­li­ca­­tion; research ethics.


The research approach is based on the book “DRM: a design research methodology” of Blessing and Chakrabarti, which is available in the library as Springer e-book.


Participants are asked to submit a one-page written intro­duc­tion before 15 January 2018 in e-Dimension con­tain­ing:

  • Your research topic
  • Introduction to the problem to be solved
  • Objectives
  • Main research question(s)
  • Outline plan
  • Expected outcome
  • Your name, a picture, your pillar and supervisor.

Learning Objectives

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  1. Develop a general understanding of the field of design science and, associated, design research
  2. Ability to apply advanced design science methods and principles
  3. Ability to formulate design science hypotheses and experimental methods
  4. Ability to abstract design principles from certain fields and apply them to other areas, fields or design problems


All participants are ex­pect­ed to read all introductions prior to the first lecture.

This course is for PhD students (and other researchers) involved in research about design or innovation, or research that involves design and innovation of products, services or systems. The aim is to make the participants bet­ter qualified and equipped for their research by providing:

  • insight into existing design theories and models to enable the selection of a suitable theoretical foundation;
  • a research methodology to support the planning and execution of a suitable research approach;
  • an overview of design research methods to enable the formulation of a clear and suitable research focus, research questions and hypotheses, and a line of argumentation;
  • an active learning environment involving a mix of lectures, discussions, exercises, presentations, assignments and homework.

Participants are actively en­gaged in the course and the course directly contributes to their research. All exercises are based on the participant’s own research topic and the individual results are regularly presented and discussed. Through working in pairs or small groups participants are encouraged getting to know and learn from other researchers and develop long-term col­la­bo­ra­tions.

Spring term

Monday 9-11 and Thursday 9-11


Lucienne Blessing, Ryan Arlitt


Grades are based on a series of assignments throughout the semester.

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