Dynamic Research Sketching: A new explanatory tool for understanding theory construction in design research

Thomas Markussen, Anne Louise Bang, Eva Knutz, Pia Pedersen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


In this paper we offer a new explanatory tool, called ‘dynamic research sketching’ useful
for mapping and understanding how research through design can be a vehicle for theory
construction. ‘Research through design’ is often used as an all-inclusive umbrella term for
research practices that recognize the process of designing and making an artifact as a
legitimate method of inquiry. However, even though this type of research is thus grounded
in design practice there are many different ways in which the process of designing and
making an artifact can be used as a method of inquiry in order to explore a research
question. Occasionally, the lack of a systematic methodology for research through design
being able to make clarifications and distinctions between various methods has been
pointed out. Yet, only few attempts have been made to compensate for this lack. In this
paper, the aim is to make a first step toward such a methodology. Initially, we set the scene
by providing a critical examination of existing literature on the subject. Then, we
demonstrate the explanatory strength of dynamic research sketching by applying it to three
case examples. In so doing, we uncover three different methods for using design practice as
a vehicle for theory construction. Finally, we discuss and conclude on our findings by
holding them up against our critique of existing frameworks.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 8th International Design Research Society Conference
Publication date1. Jul 2012
Publication statusPublished - 1. Jul 2012
Externally publishedYes

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