There are many areas design research is focusing on. Let me, therefore, zoom into two aims:
1. Design research has the ultimate aim of improving design practice.
2. Design research should add to the ‘body of design knowledge’ within the discipline.
In 2002 I gave a conference presentation, published in 2004, titled: “Is there a future for design thinking research? And why is the question so irrelevant for designers?” And that is how I still feel about it today. There is a lack of practicality and usefulness in design research.
As to the body of design knowledge, there are two failures. First, we should learn most from failures in design, but I hardly find studies of unsuccessful application of design methods and tools. Second, in the current hype of defining every design method as a research method (from context mapping to brainstorming), we forget to gather real rigorous research output through meta- analyses of the many individual case studies.
Henri Christiaans, invited respondent for DRS2016