The paradox of empirical research in design

By Robin Effing.
After a big pause, with major life changes, I am back in the IMPHD class. I think I missed a lot of engaged talks and presentations.

While reading the articles from Stappers (Michel, 2007) and Sleeswijk Visser et al (2005) I started thinking again about the complexity of this type of research.

In my opinion, empirical research studies our reality and is therefore limited to the reality that already took place, or the observation of current reality. When you design something, you have certain expectations of future behavior. Measurement and evaluation of design choices in advance “a priori” is more difficult than “a-posteriori”. This brings design research in difficult perspective. Don’t get me wrong, I think a lot of research is possible in this area, but it is more about the effectiveness of methods than about gathering knowledge of our world.

What do you think? Please comment.


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