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Design Research Through Practice - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780123855022, 9780123855039

Design Research Through Practice

1st Edition

From the Lab, Field, and Showroom

Authors: Ilpo Koskinen John Zimmerman Thomas Binder Johan Redstrom Stephan Wensveen
eBook ISBN: 9780123855039
Paperback ISBN: 9780123855022
Imprint: Morgan Kaufmann
Published Date: 26th September 2011
Page Count: 224
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Design Research Through Practice: From the Lab, Field, and Showroom focuses on one type of contemporary design research known as constructive design research. It looks at three approaches to constructive design research: Lab, Field, and Showroom. The book shows how theory, research practice, and the social environment create commonalities between these approaches. It illustrates how one can successfully integrate design and research based on work carried out in industrial design and interaction design.

The book begins with an overview of the rise of constructive design research, as well as constructive research programs and methodologies. It then describes the logic of studying design in the laboratory, design ethnography and field work, and the origins of the Showroom and its foundation on art and design rather than on science or the social sciences. It also discusses the theoretical background of constructive design research, along with modeling and prototyping of design items. Finally, it considers recent work in Lab that focuses on action and the body instead of thinking and knowing.

Many kinds of designers and people interested in design will find this book extremely helpful.

Key Features

  • Gathers design research experts from traditional lab science, social science, art, industrial design, UX and HCI to lend tested practices and how they can be used in a variety of design projects
  • Provides a multidisciplinary story of the whole design process, with proven and teachable techniques that can solve both academic and practical problems
  • Presents key examples illustrating how research is applied and vignettes summarizing the key how-to details of specific projects


Researchers in product development in global companies and students and researchers in design universities. Engineering and software students taking a more practical orientation towards innovation as well as media and business students

Table of Contents




1. Constructive Design Research

1.1. Beyond Research Through Design

1.2. Constructive Research in Design Research

1.3. What Is “Design”?

1.4. Industrial Design and Interaction Design

1.5. Design Research in Second Modernity

2. The Coming of Age of Constructive Design Research

2.1. The User-Centered Turn: Searching the Middle Way

2.2. Beyond the User

2.3. Between Engineering, Science, Design, and Art

3. Research Programs

3.1. Some Features of Constructive Research Programs

3.2. Imagination as a Step to Preferred Situations

3.3. Making Imagination Tangible: Workshops and Studios in Research

3.4. How Constructive Design Research Produces Meaning

3.5. Toward Socially Robust Knowledge

4. Lab

4.1. Rich Interaction: Building a Tangible Camera

4.2. Laboratory as a Site of Knowledge

4.3. Experimental Control

4.4. Physical Hypotheses and Design

4.5. Design, Theory, and Real-World Relevance

4.6. From Lab to Society: The Price of Decontextualization

4.7. Program at the Junction

5. Field

5.1. Vila Rosário: Reframing Public Health in a Favela

5.2. Understanding as the Basis of Design

5.3. Exploring Context with Props

5.4. Generating Concepts as Analysis

5.5. Evaluation Turns into Research: Following Imaginations in the Field

5.6. Interpretations as Precedents

5.7. Co-Design and New Objects

6. Showroom

6.1. The Origins of Showroom

6.2. Agnostic Science

6.3. Reworking Research

6.4. Beyond Knowledge: Design for Debate

6.5. Enriching Communication: Exhibitions

6.6. Curators and Researchers

6.7. How Not to Be an Artist

6.8. Toward Post-Critical Design

7. How to Work with Theory

7.1. Acting in the World

7.2. Lab: From Semantic Perception to Direct Action

7.3. Field: You Cannot Live Alone

7.4. Showroom: Design and Culture Under Attack

7.5. Frameworks and Theories

8. Design Things

8.1. User Research with Imagination

8.2. Gaining Firsthand Insights in the Studio

8.3. Concept Design with Moodboards, Mock-ups, and Sketches

8.4. Prototyping

8.5. Platforms: Taking Design into the Field

8.6. Design Things in Research

9. Constructive Design Research in Society

9.1. Luotain

9.2. Researchers as Peers

9.3. Research Faces Design Traditions

9.4. New Bauhauses: Digital and Electronic

9.5. Meet the Business

9.6. Embracing the Public Good

9.7. Constructive Design Research in Society

10. Building Research Programs

10.1. Beyond Rationalism

10.2. Contribution and Knowledge

10.3. How to Build Research Programs

10.4. Inspirations and Programs

10.5. Research Programs and Methodologies

10.6. The Quest for a Big Context




No. of pages:
© Morgan Kaufmann 2011
26th September 2011
Morgan Kaufmann
eBook ISBN:
Paperback ISBN:

About the Authors

Ilpo Koskinen

John Zimmerman

Thomas Binder

Johan Redstrom

Stephan Wensveen


"Design Research Through Practice will quickly become a book that is critical to own whether you are new to design research, an expert at design research, or someone who collaborates with design researchers. The classifications of Lab, Field, and Showroom are useful and workable categories that help researchers to understand design research as an intentional byproduct of what designers do naturally -- envision and prototype a better future through the creation of artifacts, environments, services and systems. This book is a must-read!" --Jodi Forlizzi, Associate Professor of Design and HCI, School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University

"Design Research Through Practice demonstrates how different traditions of collaborative constructions have bridged the gap between understanding and making, and theoretical and actual solutions.... This is a thoughtful examination of exemplary practice and an inspirational foundation for others to refelct and build upon." --from the foreword by Jane Fulton Suri, Managing Partner; Creative Director, IDEO

"This resource focuses on an emerging type of design research for digital products called constructive design research, concentrating on research conducted in the laboratory, the field, and the showroom. The design models, scenarios, prototypes, and case examples described offer insight on how to do constructive design research and how to build research programs. The book's visual appeal is enhanced with color photos, cartoons, diagrams, screenshots, and charts. It is for graduate and doctoral students in industrial and interactive design, product design engineering, and in emerging fields of design such as services and sustainability. The non-technical writing style and many examples will also make the book useful for practicing designers." --Reference and Research Book News, Inc.

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