Annotated Design Research Bibliography Process Overview

By Chayutsahakij, Praima | Visible Language, January 1, 2002 | Go to article overview
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Annotated Design Research Bibliography Process Overview

Chayutsahakij, Praima, Visible Language

It is a truisim that the literature of a field defines its discourse. Design has been a field of practice with few substantial formal resources, much less agreement on what the important resources might be. With no common sense of important, design practitioners, teachers and researchers set out to inform themselves about design in an unmarked territory. The project that unfolds on the next page is an attempt to remedy the situation.

Annotated Design Research Bibliography Process Overview

The Annotated Design Research Bibliography brings together a network of design scholars to select the most relevant bibliographical references for the field of design. The books that appear annotated are selected through two analytical approaches: the essentiainess of the book determined through a design community on-line survey participants and a more focused community of individuals targeted for each particular the institute of Design. Interpretations of the observations from the data collected from the on-line bibliographic survey also are suggestive of the state of design as a discipline.

Design has a long but undistinguished history. Academicians have spoken and published on the subject almost from the time design was first considered an actual subject, as early as architectural design theories were written in Roman times.Yet, design as a discipline is still immature and has not developed the internal structures and understanding that older disciplines have. In short, there is little to point to as a theoretical base for design. Although design has its own purposes, values, measures and procedures (Owen, 1994), they have not been extensively investigated, formalized or codified or even significantly entered into the literature created for the field.

As a result, those who seek to work more rigorously look to other scientific and scholarly models for guidance, and we find references to 'design science' and examples of design research' that seem to fit more appropriately in other fields (Owen, 1994) - such is the current state of research and discourse in design.


Despite prominent individual efforts -- including major contributions in modern times by design theorists in the UK- the degree of interest in design literature among design disciplines has been quite uneven, ranging from more than a little in engineering design, to some in architectural and product design, to not very much in the fields of design most closely associated with the arts and crafts. Thus, design integrates several fields with different research traditions and competing methodological claims,'Not surprisingly, design as a knowledge domain is invisible, dispersed within other classifications' (Poggenpohl,1998).

There is no database and/or Library of Congress (LC) classification: Design. Design literature resources are organized under databases of related fields such as architecture, psychology, business and economics, marketing, humanities, and engineering. For example, the sub-category Industrial Design is organized under the LC classification of 'Technology,'while Graphic Design is under 'Art:

In addition, in a Dialogweb search, Design literature is found under the datastar of ARCHITEC, ARTS, BUSECON, ECON, ECOLOGY, EDUCAT, ENG, ENVIRON, HUMANIT, PRODINFO, PRODUCTS, MANAGE, MKTRES, PSYCH.'Design'as a keyword search itself does not usually lead to useful design literature.The search for design literature (as an appendage to other dominant classifications) poses a challenging problem for the design community.This leads to a lack of foundation on which to build a discipline.

Communities of knowledge and research-based communities of practice involve sharing information which requires a literature. Klaus Krippendorff's (1998) article in the Proceedings of the Ohio Conference on Doctoral Education in Design considered how - and why - scholarly communication builds a field.

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Annotated Design Research Bibliography Process Overview


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