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Research for Designers

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Introduction Chapter 2. Design and Research Chapter 3. Research Essentials Chapter 4. Qualitative Research Chapter 5. Quantitative Research Chapter 6. Visual Research Chapter 7. Applied Research Chapter 8. Research and Design Chapter 9: Conclusion

About the Author

Dr Gjoko Muratovski has over twenty years of global, multidisciplinary design and branding experience. He holds a PhD in strategic design research with focus on branding and corporate communications. In addition to this, he is trained in a range of design fields such as graphic design, visual communications, industrial design, architectural design, interior design, and furniture design and manufacturing. His formal education and professional development spans across 11 countries. He is recipient of more than 25 scholarships, grants and awards, and has over 90 research publications. Dr Muratovski is the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Design, Business and Society and Associate Editor of She Ji: The Journal of Design, Economics and Innovation. He has authored numerous studies that examine the fields of design, architecture, fashion, advertising, branding and sustainability, and edited books such as Consumer Culture (2015), Global Fashion Brands (2014), and Design for Business Vol.1 - Vol.3 (2012-2015). As an international keynote speaker he has delivered talks at prestigious events such as the cultural programme of the G20 Leaders Summit (Australia), the annual conference of the European Academy of Design (France), and Design for a Billion (India). He was the founding Chairman of the international research conference Design for Business, which was part of the Melbourne International Design Week and was run in partnership with the State Government of Victoria (Australia). In 2015 he was named Fellow of the Designers Institute of New Zealand for his distinguished service to the New Zealand design community and the Institute, and in 2016 he was recognized as a High-End Foreign Expert by the Chinese government. Over the years Dr Muratovski has been working with a broad range of corporate, governmental and not-for-profit organizations from around the world, including NASA Johnson Space Center, UNESCO World Cultural Heritage, World Health Organization, UN Association of Australia, Department of the Premier and Cabinet of South Australia, Auckland Council of New Zealand, Deloitte, Toyota, Yahoo!, Greenpeace, and many others. He is regularly retained as an advisor by various international design firms and advertising agencies on issues ranging from strategic design to brand development strategies. Gjoko Muratovski is Director of The Myron E. Ullman, Jr. School of Design at the University of Cincinnati (USA) and Guest Professor at the College of Design & Innovation at Tongji University (China).


Research for Designers works well to illuminate for Master's and Doctoral level students how and why important shifts in design are taking place around the world from 'product creation' to 'process creation' and from 'a field of practice ' to a 'field of thinking and research'. In course development and lecturing on design at universities such as Stanford, St. Petersburg Polytechnic, Boras, Aalto and Tongji, I have until now been searching for this kind of good new books. One down. -- Antti Ainamo Just as all institutions and disciplines must, from time to time, be revolutionized in order to survive and thrive, all revolutions must eventually be institutionalized and disciplined. In Research for Designers Gjoko Muratovski makes a contribution that will help institutionalize and expand the current design revolution. As the first textbook for conducting design-related research, this discipline-enhancing, accessible, step-by-step guide can help institutes of design everywhere fulfil the promise of this important, new and expanding field. Muratovski's clear, methodical coverage of the major approaches to research provides the succinct introduction and on-going practical resource that every undergraduate, graduate, or practicing designer might need to begin contributing, themselves, to the next stage of the field's development. Armed with the lessons contained in this practical guide, they will not only make further contributions to the marketing bonanza and paradigm shift in corporate leadership already underway, they will help move design from problem finding to problem predicting and also, it seems, teach us much about what it means to be human in a world of ever accelerating technological change. Follow the path outlined by this book and join the revolution - or be left behind! -- Branden Thornhill-Miller Gjoko Muratovski makes an excellent case for how Design Research can help move design practice and education to the next level. Society has a growing need for comprehensive Design Thinking and his book, Research for Designers, makes the subject easy to understand for novices and also serves as an excellent reference and inspiration for experts. -- Soren Petersen Designers aiming to change the world are always in pursuit of new approaches that can help them realize their potential, even if they are already strongly motivated creative people. This search is a driving force that leads them to become deeper thinkers, and this is also what drives them to learn new things. So far, they had to do with basic research in order to understand complex problems, namely looking within the field of design itself, while this book shows them how to find knowledge that lies outside the field. Research for Designers presents a wider understanding of design research concerning `Design Thinking', `Cross-disciplinary Design Research', and `Challenges of Cross-disciplinary Practice'. Wonderfully written, each well-structured chapter of the book encourages designers to develop their own knowledge from the ground up. Gjoko Muratovski gives the power of `Research Revolution' to all potential design thinkers. Enterprising designers can certainly improve their competencies using the methods presented in the chapters of his book. -- Yukari Nagai As new hybrid industries that transcend disciplinary boundaries continue to emerge the need for a future design workforce, that is still not yet understood, is becoming increasingly evident. That is why we need a book like Research for Designers that explains designers how to navigate their way across disciplines, teaches them how to integrate research with practice, and empowers them to take on leadership roles in this new world. -- Anita Kocsis Research for Designers is a highly valuable book for anyone who engages with the design process, regardless of whether they are designers, engineers or business developers. This book introduces research with a strong practical focus and it lays down the foundations for developing an entire R&D process, even for large-scale, long-term projects - which makes it incredibly useful to both design and business leaders. -- Kalevi Ekman Research for Designers is a concise, pragmatic and well-written book. The smart use of graphics throughout the volume affords the reader clear comprehension of complex material. -- Lily Diaz-Kommonen Organisations of all types need to navigate through an increasingly complex, fast moving world in order to survive and thrive. Research-led, design-based problem solving has the potential to help organisations understand complexity by asking the right questions that lead to finding effective strategies and solutions to complex problems. The need for conducting rigorous knowledge-based inquiry is a central theme of this very timely and relevant book by Gjoko Muratovski. Research for Designers is an extremely valuable 'how to' book that arms designers with practical knowledge on how to conduct and communicate research in order to create even greater value from the work that they currently do. -- Swee Mak In Research for Designers, Gjoko Muratovski provides a comprehensive and insightful guidance to designers on how to find answers to well articulated design related questions, in a methodical and systematic way. This is a much more complex undertaking than it might seem, given the increasing inter- and trans-disciplinarity of most design-related questions and the growing need for designers to master many highly varying research methods and methodologies. Given that the design field have suffered a lack of well grounded literature on research methods and research methodology this book is a welcome contribution and fills a gap for everyone that aims to approach the field in a methodologically proper way. This book is an excellent contribution to the knowing of `how' to do design research - a knowledge critical not only for researchers but for everyone operating in the design field. For most practitioners, understanding how to do design research is about understanding the risks they run when they do not use these approaches in their daily work of solving problems. Many of these risks relate to the inability by others to repeat the process done by an individual designer. This is something that frequently limits the speed by which design firms can grow. Also, this limits the speed at which knowledge can be disseminated through the field and the speed at which new knowledge can be generated. As design becomes ever more important in business endeavours of all kinds, with all manner of artefacts created and put to use, the need for a highly professional and methodologically sound approach to design becomes increasingly critical. With Research for Designers, Gjoko Muratovski makes a long awaited contribution to the professionalization of the design field. -- Goeran Roos A brilliantly written and wonderfully comprehensive book on the wide array of research methods available that can, ultimately, help us design a better world. As companies, organizations and even governments turn to designers to solve a wide range of problems, a more evidence-based approach to design will certainly be in design's future. This book is an invaluable contribution to that effort. Appropriate for students and professional designers alike, Gjoko Muratovski's Research for Designers should be required reading for anyone creating anything! -- Dan Formosa With Research for Designers, Gjoko Muratovski has put together a highly valuable resource for designers who want to better understand how to do design research. Designers, but also those who teach designers, will find these resources extraordinary useful. -- Erik Stolterman Gjoko Muratovski's Research for Designers provides a structured approach to introducing design students and new researchers to design research. Designers embarking on research have often found it to be challenging to find books that are able to provide them with the necessary advice and guidance for success. This book helps to overcome this challenge by taking the reader through the research process from defining the research problem through to the literature review on to data collection and analysis. With such practical and useful chapters this book should prove to be essential reading in design schools across the world. -- Tracy Bhamra Flexible production technology and new business models enable companies to make almost anything. The unintended consequences include consumers confused by too many choices and managers not knowing what to make. Design offers new ways for executives to understand and fulfil people's needs and aspirations; however, the informality of design knowledge prevents design operating at the speed and scale that is needed. Research for Designers is a major contribution to giving structure to design knowledge. This book will help companies succeed by helping people have better lives. -- Patrick Whitney Research for Designers explores design research based on a panorama of the evolution of design. It is a useful book for designers, educators and researchers. It is also a meaningful book, as it opens the window for enriching and improving the rationalities between design and a possible better world. While facing a new era of design activism, a new culture of knowledge creation should be involved as part of the agenda. Gjoko Muratovski's work makes a concrete step forward. -- Yongqi Lou Design's importance in social, cultural and economic terms has never been greater. So it's a surprise that the design research community has waited so long for an authoritative and comprehensive handbook on research methods which further our understanding and knowledge of the process of designing. Research for Designers fills this gap in the literature. There's no doubt it will become a seminal reference for those seeking to undertake research in the field. -- Seymour Roworth-Stokes Design is a field with a relatively a short history. Design Research has even a shorter one. Regardless of that, since John Chris Jones's Design Methods there have been quite a few books on design methods that follow changes in the fundamental nature, scale and complexity of design problems. However, the existing books in the field mainly deal with design methods and tools for different stages of the design process. It is hard to find a serious method book for design research, despite the rapid emergence of doctoral programs in design, design research journals and design research conferences. In this regard, Research for Designers is a welcome contribution to the world of design academia as it discusses methods for carrying out systematic design research. Furthermore, this book allows the reader to choose methods for design research according to different types of design problems and not only for the different stages of the design process. In this respect, Research for Designers will be useful not only to postgraduate students and academics engaged in serious design research, but also to practicing designers dealing with large-scale, complex and cross-disciplinary design problems. -- Kun-Pyo Lee Enlightened decisions. Breakthrough innovation. Insightful insights. Great outcomes begin with in-depth design research. Thankfully, Gjoko Muratovski has written the definitive compendium that not only covers `how' to best conduct design research but `why' it is such a vital ingredient to success. Although intended for design students, I believe Muratovski's manual offers a far broader appeal. Strategists, business leaders, policy makers, anyone who wants to enhance and advance their research proficiency to achieve a better outcome should read this book. I know I'll be sharing copies with my colleagues. -- Maureen Thurston Inspiring and engaging. Muratovski gives us a visionary preview on the future of design. He argues that design is transforming from `problem-solving' to `problem-finding'-something every company, from startups to multinationals, needs in today's hyper-connected and fast-changing world. Muratovski provides the context and, more importantly, the implications of the rise of design as a powerful competitive advantage. If you want to know more about the role of design in the past, present and where design is headed, start here -- David R. Butler `Doing by design' will be advanced significantly by Gjoko Muratovski's book Research for Designers. The book clearly explains how effective cross-disciplinary discovery and delivery of strategic solutions to complex problems needs to begin with targeted and credible research of the problem area, the ecosystem, the context, and the stakeholders involved. While the book provides a great overview for designers that are interested in learning about research methods and how to use them, the application of this book goes further. Research for Designers is also useful to strategists and decision-makers as it can expand their problem-solving toolkit to incorporate design research and practice in the pursuit of new, original and better outcomes. This is an excellent resource for both students and developing design practitioners. -- Jane Treadwell The nature of my work, as a practising Industrial Designer for many years has made it unavoidable for me to consider large questions-design is no longer a thought system for creating a product but has become a method of contemplating existence. Today, as designers, we are exploring a new vision; a vision that seeks to apply creativity to challenges of our age, namely digital technology and information. The designer of today is involved with designing experiences, not just looks and appearances. New ideas will be meaningful only if we can coordinate physical, sensual and cultural forces. Gjoko Muratovski offers a structure to free the spirit of designers' way of experimentation. Research for Designers gives the reader a pair of wings to transcend limitation and do original work. -- Suresh Sethi Today, designers design services, processes and organizations; craft skills no longer suffice. We need to discover, define and solve problems based upon evidence. We need to demonstrate the validity of our claims. We need Design Research, but as special kind of research, with methods appropriate to the applied, constructive nature of design. We need a book on research for designers that can educate students and be a reference for professionals. And here it is: Gjoko Muratovski's masterful book for 21st century designers. -- Don Norman

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