Reflections on diversity in design research

C.A. McMahon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (SciVal)


Design is a topic that has been studied from many disciplinary perspectives, each bringing particular methodological traditions to bear and yielding many different insights into the subject, but the diversity has meant that it has been difficult to achieve a coherent and comprehensive view on research in the domain. This paper presents observations on this diversity in design research and then makes suggestions for action to identify opportunities for collaboration and consolidation. The design research 'landscape' is first characterised as involving a number of academic communities that research the topic from different perspectives. An approach is then presented to characterising research by considering facets such as the timescale of the design episode being studied, the phase of the design process and the complexity of the resulting artefact, and an example is given of its application to the papers presented at the International Conference on Engineering Design in 2009. Finally, suggestions are made for further steps that the design research community might take in the characterisation and consolidation of the domain.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)563-576
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Engineering Design
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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