Where next for design research? Understanding research impact and theory building

Philip Cash

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Research impact and theory development are major challenges facing design research. However, the nature of these challenges and how they should be addressed is a controversial question. Here, this question is addressed via a systematic analysis of research published in Design Studies, which delivers three contributions: demonstrating the explanatory and predictive power of theory development for research impact; showing that theory development has broken down in design research; offering a theoretical
‘landscape’ of design research, which is used to provide an evidence-based agenda for future theory development. It is proposed that these contributions resolve much of the controversy surrounding theory development and its value, and point the way forward for a theory development revolution in design
Original languageEnglish
JournalDesign Studies
Pages (from-to)113-141
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Theory development
  • Design research
  • Design science
  • Design theory
  • Research methods


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