Making design representations as catalysts for reflective making in a collaborative design research process.
The role of making may seem self-evident in a design context. However, in developing an educational design research course at the [institute name], we experienced that when design and research are intertwined, students tend to lose their focus on making. Therefore, this paper reflects on a research trajectory that explores how to support students in intertwining making and reflecting throughout the design research process. During this trajectory, we redeveloped design research methods making use of design representations – representations of design, i.e. field studies, insights, experiments, prototypes, and so on – as a means to connect making and reflecting throughout the design process. Design representations have informing and inspiring qualities and are made by designers to open up their design process and to enable communication, collaboration and reflection with others, throughout the making process. We will argue that combining design representations with structuring rules of play in a design research method and using them throughout the whole design process can improve collaborative reflection-in-action (Schön, 1983), or reflection-in-making, since it allows students to work in a more iterative manner. We describe how we – in eight case studies - recreated and evaluated a design research method, making use of design representations and structuring rules of play.
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