Ways of Drifting: 5 Methods of Experimentation in Research through Design

Peter Gall Krogh, Thomas Markussen, Anne Louise Bang

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


Design experiments are claimed to be a core means of inquiry in the research tradition of research-through-design. However, it is rarely articulated how the experiments were carried out in order to test a hypothesis, to begin a fruitful journey into unexplored design terrain or just gradually build knowledge. On the basis of the analysis of ten PhD theses we provide a typology comprised of five forms of design experiments in research-through-design. This provides a general outline of the characteristics which point to the methodological roles that design experiments and design work may acquire in research-through-design.
Our typology of design experiments in research-through-design accounts both for relations between major cases and iterations embodied in detailed sketches and prototypes. The purpose of the typology is to provide an overview that respects and account for the less-than-ideal way design research actually happens: process-loops where hypothesis, experiments, and insights concurrently affect one another and result in a drift of research focus and continued adjustment of experiments to stabilize the research endeavour.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationICoRD’15 – Research into Design Across Boundaries Volume 1 : Theory, Research Methodology, Aesthetics, Human Factors and Education.
EditorsAmaresh Chakrabarti
Publication date2015
ISBN (Print)978-81-322-2231-6
ISBN (Electronic)978-81-322-2232-3
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes
EventInternational conference on research into design - Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India
Duration: 7. Jan 20159. Jan 2015


ConferenceInternational conference on research into design
LocationIndian Institute of Science
SeriesSmart Innovation, Systems and Technologies


  • Experiments
  • Methods
  • Research-through-design

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