MH: Des Research & Methods

What does the designer need to know in order to navigate between concept and artifact, research and making? This course introduces a range of design strategies by drawing on readings and research methods from varied fields that include design studies, media studies, and anthropology. The student will learn to conduct rigorous and productive research in the service of communicating an idea, skills that are necessary to develop a successful thesis project and to address complex design projects in practice. Research and making are understood to be contemporaneous activities that change in scale as design projects progress. Topics include how to: form a hypothesis, frame questions, structure arguments, state research objectives, gather information, confront bias in problem definition, understand audience, and evaluate visual representation. Using both qualitative and quantitative methods, students will learn to research, write and design as mutually informing, rather than sequential, aspects of a successful design process. Supported by historically and culturally relevant readings, students will develop the critical skills to create extraordinary utilitarian and/or aesthetic artifacts, services, and experiences.