Please note! Course description is confirmed for two academic years, which means that in general, e.g. Learning outcomes, assessment methods and key content stays unchanged. However, via course syllabus, it is possible to specify or change the course execution in each realization of the course, such as how the contact sessions are organized, assessment methods weighted or materials used.


Students who successfully complete the course should be able to:

  • map and define current sectors of design research and their relationship to other academic and professional fields;
  • demonstrate reasoned discussion of disciplinary and multi-, inter- and trans-disciplinary academic practices, including their interactions with and the relevances of practice-based research, reflective practice and action research;
  • understand institutional formations and settings of design research practices and how these shape different discursive fields;
  • critically analyse argumentation, context, form and methods in various ways of composing doctoral dissertations in design;
  • identify and critically discuss key actors, texts and research practices that are representative of relevant research fields, contextualising their own research against these;
  • identify relevant pathways for academic and/or professional career development through the course and outcomes of doctoral research.

Credits: 6

Schedule: 21.02.2022 - 03.06.2022

Teacher in charge (valid for whole curriculum period):

Teacher in charge (applies in this implementation): Sampsa Hyysalo

Contact information for the course (applies in this implementation):

CEFR level (valid for whole curriculum period):

Language of instruction and studies (applies in this implementation):

Teaching language: English. Languages of study attainment: English


  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    Design research is a young and rapidly changing field of academic enquiry. It maintains fuzzy borders with its cognate disciplines while also embracing disciplinary, multi-, inter-, cross- and post-disciplinary research practices. The heterogeneity of design research makes it particularly difficult, and interesting, to situate the design researcher and their methodologies, epistemologies and outcomes. Establishing a critical and reasoned position here is challenging, and yet it is an immensely important and, often, overlooked part of doctoral activities.

    This course is dedicated to helping doctoral students in their understanding of the fields and practices of design research. This is such that they can both understand its broader and varied terrain while also articulating nuanced and critical perspectives onto specific, relevant positions in design research.

    More practically, students identify and map the different institutional infrastructures of design research and related fields -- such as prominent research centres, conference circuits, online fora -- how these have come about and how these shape certain ways of doing and thinking about design research. This will help in the situating of their respective areas of enquiry but also in considering their career development. This need not be through deference to these -- indeed, students are encouraged to understand the potential for academic and professional rupture that their own work might present.

Assessment Methods and Criteria
  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    Student participation and output is assessed on a pass/fail basis. This, normally, is against the following criteria:

    • 80% attendance and participation in classes;
    • the production and presentation of a portfolio of material developed through the course as a compilation of given assignments that include such activities as literature reviews, directed reading and group or individual presentations as well as notes from readings, classes, group and personal research the portfolio is evaluated according to the requirements of each part. 


  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    160,2 hrs  to normally include:

    • 40-50 hrs class contact time;
    • 110-120 hrs independent study.

    These are distributed across two x 1 week teaching slots timetabled in Periods 3 and 5 and occasional seminars between.


Study Material
  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    The course is delivered through an integrated mixture materials as relevant to disciplinary fields and related fields of design. This includes as indicative reading:

    Baratta, Daniele (2017): The T shaped designer expertise. The reverse-T shaped designer horizon. The Design Journal20(sup1): S4784-S4786.

    Barry, Andrew, Georgina Born, and Gisa Weszkalnys. 2008. Logics of Interdisciplinarity. Economy and Society, 37 (1): 20-49.

    Knorr Cetina, Karin (2001): Objectual practice in T.R. Schatzki, K. Knorr-Cetina and E. Von Savigny (eds.) In: The practice turn in contemporary theory. London: Routledge. pp.184-196.

    Krohn, Wolfgang, and Weyer, Johannes (1994): "Society as a laboratory: The social risks of experimental research." In: Science and public policy 21/3, pp.173-183.

Substitutes for Courses


Further Information
  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    Minimum number of participants: 8
    Max 16 participants, priority to 1st year Department of Design doctoral candidates.

    Teaching Period:

    2020-2021 Spring III-V

    2021-2022 Spring III-V

    Course Homepage:

    Registration for Courses: Sisu replaces Oodi on 9 August, 2021. Priority order to courses is according to the order of priority decided by the Academic committee for School of Arts, Design and Architecture:


    The order of priority is as follows:

    1. students for whom the course is compulsory for their major/programme and who have scheduled it for the current academic year in their personal study plan (HOPS);
    2. exchange students for whom the course is a part of his/her officially approved learning agreement and scheduled to be taken during the current semester.

    This decision on the order of priority does not influence the right of the teacher to define prerequisites for the course.