Why Do We Need Doctoral Study in Design?
Meredith Davis


This article makes a case for why design research is important to contemporary design practice and the deepening of the design disciplines, especially at this point in our history. It identifies the pressures on knowledge generation exerted by the shift from a mechanical, object-centered paradigm for design practice to one characterized by systems that: evolve and behave organically; transfer control from designers to users or participants; emphasize the importance of community; acknowledge media convergence; and require work by interdisciplinary teams to address the complexity of contemporary problems.

Further, the text addresses the rather checkered past of design research programs in universities in the United States of America (USA), and the international positions by professional design associations on the development of research cultures. Included in this discussion is data on what American design professionals, faculty, and students think about design research and what this data tells us about growing research activity.

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