Topic outline

  • General

    This course involves you in exploring the content of design research at the Aalto Department of Design. 

    Each person / small group will be assigned a dissertation, and that person/group will perform additional analyses and prepare the summary of the work and the course meeting associated with that dissertation. The additional analysis includes reading and analyzing the assigned dissertation through these lenses: 

    • Context: How is the dissertation contextualized in relation to research discourses, communities and beneficiaries? How does the author position themselves? What was the context for doing the research study and writing the dissertation?
    • Aim, Research design, Argumentation: What does the research study in the dissertation consist of? How are research questions, units of analysis (or delimitation of the study), analysis and outcomes related? 
    • Methods: What are the main research methods and how are these presented, performed and reflected upon? Research methods may be drawn from literature review, qualitative research, quantitative analysis, action/participatory action research, design or artistic productions, etc. etc. 
    • Form: How does the argumentation connecting different parts of the study unfold in the book? What are relations between theory (or theories) and practice (or practices) in the book and how do those appear in the book? Practice may include qualitative research practices, design or production practices, etc. etc. 

     Students should discuss and develop their methods for performing an analysis along these lines and how they will present this in course meetings. E.g. in addition to 3-6 page summary the presentations may include an oral presentation, a visual map or other communicable format through which the whole class can gain an understanding and critically contribute. If possible, the author of the dissertation will be invited in for dialogue during the small group discussion on the thesis.

    For each session the student(s) in charge:
    • Read thoroughly the assigned thesis
    • Select one chapter that everyone should read
    • Prepare a 3-6 page summary of the thesis
    • Prepare to facilitate / lead the discussion on the thesis

    Everyone else:

    • Read the prepared summary
    • Read the dedicated chapter of the thesis
    • Be prepared to discuss the thesis in class

    The sessions will run from 9:15 to 11:30.

    You can find the Aalto Arts dissertations here:

    • File icon
      Schedule File DOCX




       Section to read from the thesis

      27.2. (L102)


      Cindy Kohtala

      3 summaries & Introduction

      6.3. (L102)

      Saga-Sofia Santala

      Mia Hesselgren

       Methods section, summary of articles (optional)

      13.3. (L102)(?)

      Rebecca Jeong

       Mikael Johnson


      (Optional: summary of contributions)

      20.3. (online)

      Sara Hulkkonen

      Camilla Groth


      27.3. (L101)

      Mithila Mohan

       Nithikul Nimkulrat

       Section 4

      3.4. (L101)

      Gary Markle

      Priska Falin


      17.4. (L101)(?)

      Camilo Sanchez

      Tiina Kymäläinen(?)