In a previous blog post, I mentioned the struggle of explaining what I am learning at ALBA or what I do as a design researcher. We brought this challenge up in our Design Theory class where we went through a discussion for four hours to dissect and deconstruct design research in order to come up with a simple definition that we could use when explaining what we do to our partners and to non-designers.

When asked what we do, most the time I stutter trying to find the best answer that fit the current situation, however, I always end up with answers about interior design, architecture, or graphic designers.

To explore what design research is we developed first a mind map where we mapped out everything we know about design research and any interesting thoughts that came out of the discussion.

Following the mind map, each student had to develop a comprehensive definition that he/she can use.

Here is what I came up with:

Although the definition includes different aspects of design research, I still find it a complex one that can’t be used in all situations. However, I feel more comfortable and confident in explaining what I do. I also believe that part of our mission is to ensure more people are aware of what design research is and what are its values.