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Research for Designers

Research for Designers
A Guide to Methods and Practice

December 2015 | 280 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
"Today, designers design services, processes and organizations; craft skills no longer suffice. We need to discover, define and solve problems based upon evidence. We need to demonstrate the validity of our claims. We need a guide to design research that can educate students and be a reference for professionals. And here it is: a masterful book for 21st century designers."

Don NormanProfessor and Director of Design Lab, University of California San Diego, and former Vice President, Advanced Technologies, Apple

Design is everywhere: it influences how we live, what we wear, how we communicate, what we buy, and how we behave. In order for designers to design for the real world, defining strategies rather than just implementing them, they need to learn how to understand and solve complex, intricate, and often unexpected problems. This book is a guide to this new creative process. With this book in hand, students of design will:
  • understand and apply the vocabulary and strategies of research methods
  • learn how to adapt themselves to unfamiliar situations
  • develop techniques for collaborating with non-designers
  • find and use facts from diverse sources in order to prove or disprove their ideas
  • make informed decisions in a systematic and insightful way
  • use research tools to find new and unexpected design solutions
Research for Designers is an essential toolkit for a design education and a must-have for every design student who is getting ready to tackle their own research.

Chapter 1. Introduction
Chapter 2. Design and Research
Chapter 3. Research Essentials
Chapter 4. Qualitative Research
Chapter 5. Quantitative Research
Chapter 6. Visual Research
Chapter 7. Applied Research
Chapter 8. Research and Design
Chapter 9: Conclusion

With Research for Designers, Gjoko Muratovski has put together a highly valuable resource for designers who want to better understand how to do design research. Designers, but also those who teach designers, will find these resources extraordinary useful.

Erik Stolterman
Professor and Chair: Informatics, Indiana University Bloomington and Professor: Institute of Design, Umeå University

A brilliantly written and wonderfully comprehensive book on the wide array of research methods available that can, ultimately, help us design a better world. As companies, organizations and even governments turn to designers to solve a wide range of problems, a more evidence-based approach to design will certainly be in design’s future. This book is an invaluable contribution to that effort. Appropriate for students and professional designers alike, Gjoko Muratovski’s Research for Designers should be required reading for anyone creating anything!

Dan Formosa
Award-Winning Designer and Founding Partner, Smart Design

In Research for Designers, Gjoko Muratovski provides a comprehensive and insightful guidance to designers on how to find answers to well articulated design related questions, in a methodical and systematic way. This is a much more complex undertaking than it might seem, given the increasing inter- and trans-disciplinarity of most design-related questions and the growing need for designers to master many highly varying research methods and methodologies.

Given that the design field have suffered a lack of well grounded literature on research methods and research methodology this book is a welcome contribution and fills a gap for everyone that aims to approach the field in a methodologically proper way. This book is an excellent contribution to the knowing of ‘how’ to do design research - a knowledge critical not only for researchers but for everyone operating in the design field.

For most practitioners, understanding how to do design research is about understanding the risks they run when they do not use these approaches in their daily work of solving problems. Many of these risks relate to the inability by others to repeat the process done by an individual designer. This is something that frequently limits the speed by which design firms can grow. Also, this limits the speed at which knowledge can be disseminated through the field and the speed at which new knowledge can be generated. As design becomes ever more important in business endeavours of all kinds, with all manner of artefacts created and put to use, the need for a highly professional and methodologically sound approach to design becomes increasingly critical. With Research for Designers, Gjoko Muratovski makes a long awaited contribution to the professionalization of the design field.

Göran Roos
Professor: Strategic Design, Swinburne University of Technology. Managing Director, Innovation Performance Australia. Member: Economic Development Board of South Australia

Organisations of all types need to navigate through an increasingly complex, fast moving world in order to survive and thrive. Research-led, design-based problem solving has the potential to help organisations understand complexity by asking the right questions that lead to finding effective strategies and solutions to complex problems. The need for conducting rigorous knowledge-based inquiry is a central theme of this very timely and relevant book by Gjoko Muratovski. Research for Designers is an extremely valuable 'how to' book that arms designers with practical knowledge on how to conduct and communicate research in order to create even greater value from the work that they currently do.

Swee Mak
Professor and Director: Design Research Institute, RMIT University

Research for Designers is a concise, pragmatic and well-written book. The smart use of graphics throughout the volume affords the reader clear comprehension of complex material.

Lily Diaz-Kommonen
Professor and Head of Research: Media Lab, Aalto University

Research for Designers is a highly valuable book for anyone who engages with the design process, regardless of whether they are designers, engineers or business developers. This book introduces research with a strong practical focus and it lays down the foundations for developing an entire R&D process, even for large-scale, long-term projects - which makes it incredibly useful to both design and business leaders.

Kalevi Ekman
Professor and Director: Aalto Design Factory, Aalto University

As new hybrid industries that transcend disciplinary boundaries continue to emerge the need for a future design workforce, that is still not yet understood, is becoming increasingly evident. That is why we need a book like Research for Designers that explains designers how to navigate their way across disciplines, teaches them how to integrate research with practice, and empowers them to take on leadership roles in this new world. 

Anita Kocsis
Associate Professor and Director: Swinburne Design Factory, Swinburne University of Technology

Designers aiming to change the world are always in pursuit of new approaches that can help them realize their potential, even if they are already strongly motivated creative people. This search is a driving force that leads them to become deeper thinkers, and this is also what drives them to learn new things. So far, they had to do with basic research in order to understand complex problems, namely looking within the field of design itself, while this book shows them how to find knowledge that lies outside the field. Research for Designers presents a wider understanding of design research concerning ‘Design Thinking’, ‘Cross-disciplinary Design Research’, and ‘Challenges of Cross-disciplinary Practice’. Wonderfully written, each well-structured chapter of the book encourages designers to develop their own knowledge from the ground up. Gjoko Muratovski gives the power of ‘Research Revolution’ to all potential design thinkers. Enterprising designers can certainly improve their competencies using the methods presented in the chapters of his book.

Yukari Nagai
Dean Professor: School of Knowledge Science, JAIST - Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology

Gjoko Muratovski makes an excellent case for how Design Research can help move design practice and education to the next level. Society has a growing need for comprehensive Design Thinking and his book, Research for Designers, makes the subject easy to understand for novices and also serves as an excellent reference and inspiration for experts.

Søren Petersen
President, Ingomar & Ingomar Consulting. Editor: The Creative Economy, The Huffington Post. Author of 'Profit from Design: Leveraging Design in Business'

Just as all institutions and disciplines must, from time to time, be revolutionized in order to survive and thrive, all revolutions must eventually be institutionalized and disciplined. In Research for Designers Gjoko Muratovski makes a contribution that will help institutionalize and expand the current design revolution. As the first textbook for conducting design-related research, this discipline-enhancing, accessible, step-by-step guide can help institutes of design everywhere fulfil the promise of this important, new and expanding field.

Muratovski’s clear, methodical coverage of the major approaches to research provides the succinct introduction and on-going practical resource that every undergraduate, graduate, or practicing designer might need to begin contributing, themselves, to the next stage of the field’s development. Armed with the lessons contained in this practical guide, they will not only make further contributions to the marketing bonanza and paradigm shift in corporate leadership already underway, they will help move design from problem finding to problem predicting and also, it seems, teach us much about what it means to be human in a world of ever accelerating technological change.

Follow the path outlined by this book and join the revolution - or be left behind!

Branden Thornhill-Miller
Director of Research, Preparing Global Leaders Foundation. Adjunct Professor: Economics & Psychology, University of Paris V (Sorbonne). Fellow: Harris Manchester College, University of Oxford

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 2 - Design and Research

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