Design With a Thousand Faces: Design-Led Methods for the Social Science Research Community
Design as a profession emerged out of the industrial revolution. However, the word ‘design’ has been around much longer and describes a human activity that we all do and have done for some time. This paper starts from the premise that although design may have many 'faces' there is an overriding commonality in a process concerned primarily with generating 'what could be' rather than 'what is'. This commonality has the potential to form a 'common ground' between disciplines. Hence, design-led methods could be further developed into an integrated research design for an interdisciplinary method that effectively enables all types of participants and researchers alike. This paper will examine design-led methods for the social sciences by looking at; the social science influence on design research methods, the evolution within design of 'design-led' research methods (such as cultural probes, game format and scenario building) and the influence of these creative and playful methods on the social sciences. The paper will assess the potential for further developing design-led methods for the social science research community and will conclude by considering what, if any, role the Design discipline may have in contributing to ‘design’ in other fields.
Keywords: Interdisciplinary Research Methods, Design, Design-Led Methods
Viveka Turnbull Hocking
PhD Candidate, Fenner School of Environment and Society