Design With a Thousand Faces: Design-Led Methods for the Social Science Research Community

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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
Stream: Research Methodologies, Quantitative and Qualitative Methods
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Design with a Thousand Faces


Viveka Turnbull Hocking

PhD Candidate, Fenner School of Environment and Society
Human Ecology Department, The Australian National University

Canberra, ACT, Australia

Viveka Turnbull Hocking studied at the University of New South Wales in Zoology, Philosophy and Design, graduating with a Bachelor of Design with honours. She is now conducting her PhD with the Australian National University, looking at design research methodology for sustainable development through a case-study of sustainable tourism in the Snowy Mountains region of New South Wales. Viveka is also a Lecturer and Tutor for the School of Design and Architecture at the University of Canberra.

Ref: I08P0305