Written by: Center for Care Innovations

You do design research to understand what is really going on in your project area, and why. It’s an opportunity to make your project tangible by having lots of visual evidence, examples, and references. You will also broaden your capacity for designing a better solution in the end.

Design Research 101

  1. Your Attitude: You approach the design research stage of work with pure curiosity and hunger to learn. You are an investigator open to challenging assumptions. Leave what you think you know behind for now!
  2. Your Space: Along the way, you’ll collect artifacts from your research — a user’s sketch, a photo, a workflow diagram, brainstorm ideas, an empathy map. You need space to visually display these (at least on a temporary basis) so you can refer back to them and bring in other people to help make sense of it.
  3. What to Look at: To really understand your project, it’s critical to learn about some of the larger context. You can find starting points for your research by exploring the following:Topics, People, Technology, Process and Policies, Economics, and the Environment.

Key Tools