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Call for Ph.D. course

Call for participation

The Role of Hypotheses in Experimental Design Research 8-11 October 2012


Research through design is increasingly used as a research-methodical starting point for design research – inside as well as outside the design discipline. Originally, the method was described by Christopher Frayling (1993) and Bruce Archer (1995), and since then many different suggestions for what the characteristics of research through design have been presented. Today, many design researchers acknowledge that research through design is their method of choice. A more thorough study, however, reveals many differences between the different types of knowledge production which research through design may result in; consequently, there is a need for a critical and more theoretical discussion of the concept.

Being able to differentiate this type of research from artistic development work and from other types of research practices is essential. The traditional scientific process is characterised by three well-known stages: the hypothesis, the experiment, and evaluation/reflection/communication. When seen in the light of the fact that research through design is becoming more and more influen- tial, we need to revisit these stages and take a look at how they challenge, how they are integrated in, and how they shape the fundamental issues of design research.

This course is the first of three courses, the other two courses are concerned with (2) the role of the experiment and (3) evaluation/reflection/communication.


What is the relationship between theories and hypotheses, and can hypotheses be seen as bridg- es between research questions and research motivation? What are the different types of hypothe- ses used in design research and how and in what way do these hypotheses influence experiments that need to be dealt with in the research process?

This course focuses on the presentation of hypotheses as a research activity which spans the gap between research motivation (various criteria of relevance) and research questions (the specific aim of the study). The hypothesis thus takes on the role of a method which identifies the premise (or premises) in relation to which the research work should be understood.

We expect that participants begin to write, restate or strengthen their research methodological dur- ing the course.


You can apply for participation in the course by submitting a position paper (2 pages). In this paper the participants must explain their motivation as well as the research questions and the hypothesis of their PhD projects or justify the lack of same.


When you are accepted for participation in the course, you will receive a compendium containing excerpts from selected PhD-dissertations that reflect a great diversity – with regard to hypotheses of design research and the role they play in research praxis. As preparation for the course, we ask the participants to identify hypotheses, key concepts and the role of hypotheses in these disserta- tions. We, furthermore, ask participants to identify the gap between hypotheses, research ques- tions and motivation.

The course includes: • A presentation of the participants based on position papers • A discussion and mapping of hypothesis-typologies • Scientific Theory • A day set aside for writing • A presentation and discussion of the work of the participants during the course Facts: Value: 5 ECTS Time: primary course activities will be held during week 41, 8-11 October 2012 Location: The Kolding School of Design Key teachers: Thomas Markussen, Anne Louise Bang, Martin Ludvigsen, Peter Gall Krogh Cost: DKK 2,500 (Including materials, catering and two dinners during the stay)

Deadline for application: Please submit your application for participation no later than 15 August 2012, to research secretary Lise Yde:

Notification of acceptance: 28 August 2012 Course material will be sent to the participants on 4 September 2012