Course syllabus

Forskningsmetodik i industridesign
Research Methods in Industrial Design

IDEN35, 5 credits, A (Second Cycle)

Valid for: 2017/18
Decided by: PLED ID
Date of Decision: 2017-03-21

General Information

Main field: Industrial Design.
Compulsory for: MID2
Elective for: MD4
Language of instruction: The course will be given in English


The course aims to deepen students' understanding and ability to plan, perform and report a research study undertaken to support and justify decisions in the design process. This is done by introducing perspectives, approaches and methods used in scientific and practice-driven research in the design field, and by critically reflecting on and reviewing their own, course colleagues’ and published works. In the course, a research study is carried out and documented, individually or in groups, that is designed so that the insights from this study can provide an informed basis for the upcoming thesis project.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding
For a passing grade the student must

To pass the course, students must demonstrate:
-an understanding of how research studies contribute to knowledge building in the design field.
-knowledge of possibilities and limitations of alternative methodologies for carrying out research studies, demonstrated in the form of a report, which describes a well-defined, self-selected research question, and by critically reflecting on appropriate approaches for addressing this question.
-knowledge of typical terminology in scientific publications, such as validity, reliability, selection, research question, etc. This is done by reading, critically reviewing and discussing published articles relevant to the design field.
-awareness of the relationship between own work and studies conducted by others in the design field. This is done by arguing for the topic and the relevance, novelty, credibility and potential benefit of the study in a written report.
-awareness that various starting points are associated with different perspectives and approaches. This is done by critically reflecting on one’s own and course colleagues' work through a process of peer-review.
-understanding of how a research study presented in report form can be transferred to a design brief.

Competences and skills
For a passing grade the student must

To pass the course, students must demonstrate the ability to:
-formulate a self-selected, well defined and for the design field relevant question, which is feasible within the time and resource constraints of the course.
-communicate the starting points, background, methodology, expected results, limitations and implications of a research study, orally as well as in written form.
-identify various approaches to investigate the research question and to select at least one approach that is appropriate for addressing the question.
-with guidance, plan, collect and interpret empirical data which contributes to the understanding of the chosen research topic.

Judgement and approach
For a passing grade the student must

To pass the course, students must:
-demonstrate insights that different starting points, perspectives and approaches affect the implementation and outcome of research studies, as well as its relevance and credibility.
-in seminars and through peer review, orally and in writing, demonstrate the ability to formulate informed decisions and to critically reflect on strengths, weaknesses, and implications regarding the implementation, as well as ethical considerations of a research study.
-demonstrate the ability to adopt a sustainable, ethical and critical approach, as well as insights into how the design field can address current and future societal challenges.


The course provides practical as well as theoretical knowledge and understanding of research studies conducted with the purpose of supporting the design process. Practical knowledge is practiced by trying, with guidance through gradually increasing complexity, various methods to formulate research questions, choosing method, collecting and analysing empirical data, and search databases (for scientific published studies) in order to identify arguments for relevance, credibility and implications. Furthermore, the students’ skill and ability to examine and critically reflect on their own work and others' are gradually deepened. In the examination task, the students are given the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to plan, conduct, report and critically review a research study, which should be possible to transform into a design brief suitable for a design project equivalent to 20 weeks of full time studies.

Examination details

Grading scale: UG - (U,G) - (Fail, Pass)
Assessment: Assessment is based on the active participation in the different parts of the course and the completed exercises and examination assignment. To pass the course, the student must demonstrate that they meet the learning objectives, in writing as well as orally. The student is given the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and skills through active participation in the various phases of the course, and by delivering assignments on time. In cases where assignments are done in groups, each student's individual role and contributions must be clearly stated.

The examiner, in consultation with Disability Support Services, may deviate from the regular form of examination in order to provide a permanently disabled student with a form of examination equivalent to that of a student without a disability.


The number of participants is limited to: No
The course overlaps following course/s: IDE081

Reading list

Contact and other information

Course coordinator: Elin Olander,
Course coordinator: Anders Warell,
Course homepage:
Further information: Educational form: Lectures, seminars, and exercises as well as self-studies.