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Design Research: Methods and Perspectives (The MIT Press) Hardcover – 6 Jan 2004
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...an indispensable resource for everyone in the field.--I.D.
...this is a book to turn your career inside out with serious examination and reflection.--Book Bytes
The tools of design research, writes Brenda Laurel, will allow designers "to claim and direct the power of their profession." Often neglected in the various curricula of design schools, the new models of design research described in this book help designers to investigate people, form and process in ways that can make their work more potent and more delightful. "At the very least," Peter Lunenfeld writes in the preface, "design research saves us from reinventing the wheel. At its best, a lively research methodology can reinvigorate the passion that so often fades after designers join the profession." The goal of the book is to introduce designers to the many research tools that can be used to inform design as well as to ideas about how and when to deploy them effectively. The chapter authors come from diverse institutions and enterprises, including Stanford University, MIT, Intel, Maxis, Studio Anybody, Sweden's HUMlab and Big Blue Dot. Each has something to say about how designers make themselves better at what they do through research, and illustrates it with real world examples - case studies, anecdotes and images.Topics of this multi-voice conversation include qualitative and quantitative methods, performance ethnography and design improvisation, trend research, cultural diversity, formal and structural research practice, tactical discussions of design research process and case studies drawn from areas as unique as computer games, museum information systems and movies. Interspersed throughout the book are one-page "demos," snapshots of the design research experience. Design Research charts the paths from research methods to research findings to design principles to design results and demonstrates the transformation of theory into a richly satisfying and more reliably successful practice. See all Product description
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When I've decided to buy this book, I hoped to get a reference book, to use in a harsh schedule of design project. And this one is for somebody, to read on trip to your grandma's house or anything, but allowing slow and thoughtfull reading. That wasn't my case - my time is strictly scheduled and books like this are a waste of time for me. If you have the same needs as I do - don't buy this book, it's a waste of time and has "no to very few methodics, spreaded between 334 pages.
It's a book for designers, not students. But I'm not sure what designers would get from it. Inspiration to engage more in user research? Perhaps. Encouragement to delve deeper into research methods, and to learn more? No; because the references and further reading are extremely limited. For instance, two potentially useful chapters, overviews of quantitative and qualitative methods respectively, have just one reference between them, and that's to Cooper's The Inmates are Running the Asylum, in the qualitative methods chapter.
It's a very parochial book. Parochial in the sense of being based in a restricted context. Most of the contributors seem to come from a limited network of design practices and consultancies and teaching institutions. Parochial in the sense of having very limited horizons. It's an American book that seems completely unaware of what might be happening across the Pacific in Asia, and almost completely unaware of what might be happening across the Atlantic in Europe.