As an architect educated at Architecture and Design in Aalborg, design research and methodology is not a part of my primary knowledge, which made it totally new for me, to walk in to the World of PhD.

I have seached for knowledge within the field of Design Research or Architectural Research and found an article called “What is quality in Design Research” (“Hvad er kvalitet i designforskning”

The article is about a Research Meeting among Design Researchers in Denmark, where they discuss what Design Research is. They address, that to be a designer is not only about developing a form, but it is also about handling many overall issues such as: The socially and environmental context of design, users, problem solving on an abstract level etc., because design, today, is a part of an interdisciplinary an strategic process.

All these aspects and the desire for academizing the field of design make the Design Research bloom. But what are the criteria for Design Research?

Overall we need mutual standards combining all Research. In a book “Designerly Ways of Knowing” from 2006 by Nigel Cross, the five criterias for good research is:

1)    Purposive: There is a problem to be solved and that is worth solving

2)    Inquisitive: There has to be new knowledge

3)    Informed: With knowledge about previous knowledge in the specific field

4)    Methodical: Reached in a structured and disciplinary way

5)    Communicable: Results has to be available for every body

OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) has made some common definitions on all research and categorises research in 3:

1)    Fundamental Research: To reach a new acknowledgement

2)    Applied Research: To reach new knowledge and insight

3)    Clinical/Experimental Research: Transform existing theory into new knowledge


They conclude that there is a need for developing new methodologies by interdisciplinary approaches. Julie Sommerlund mentions, that by creatively combining the traditional research areas “Terms, methods and methodologies” new inputs will be developed for the empiric based design research and the theoretical design research.