Design-based Research


Syllabus for students spring 2023, spring 2022, spring 2021, spring 2020, spring 2019, spring 2018

Course Code:
KD646A revision 2.1
Level of specialisation
Main fields of study:
Interaction Design
Date of ratification:
15 November 2017
Decision-making body:
Faculty of Culture and Society
Enforcement date:
15 January 2018
Replaces Syllabus ratified:
16 November 2016

Entry requirements

Passed the two preceding studio courses in Year 2 (Design and social innovation, Play and ludic interaction) or courses deemed equivalent – see programme syllabus.

Specialisation and progression relative to the degree regulations

The course can normally be included as part of a general degree at advanced level


The focus of this course is design-based research, that is, academic knowledge construction including design activities. The course provides an introduction to the conceptual foundations for understanding design-based research, as well as the methodological tools for performing it.


Epistemological foundations for design-based research, including notions such as experiential knowledge, practical knowing, knowing-in-action and artifacts-as-knowledge.
Implications for knowledge representation and communication in design-based research.
The relations between design activity and research activity.
Methodological foundations, including practice-based research, research-oriented design, research-through-design, and interaction criticism.

Learning outcomes

In order to increase precision, the generic types of outcomes are mapped to interaction design as follows.
Knowledge and understanding
1. Students should through the course gain an understanding of the epistemological and conceptual foundations for design-based research.
Skills and techniques
Students should after the course be able to;
2. display ability to plan a design-based research process.
3. display ability to plan, execute, document and analyze design experiments pertinent to larger research interests.

Reflection and criticism
Students should after the course be able to;
4. display ability to engage in knowledge construction within interaction design research through criticism.

Learning activities

The course is aligned with the Thesis project 2 course, in order to enable students to use the preparation of their thesis projects as cases for practical experimentation with the theoretical and conceptual “tools” provided. Specifically, learning activities in the course include design experimentation within the frame of the overall thesis research interests, and planning the thesis project as a research process.
The course is structured as a series of seminars.
Learning activities are further specified in a detailed Course Guide


The learning outcomes are assessed through individual and small-group assignments that are discussed in plenary seminars.
Learning goals 1 and 4 are assesed through writing an individual essay on the topic ”What is design knowledge?” (7,5 credits)
Learning goals 2 and 3 are assesed through planning the research process of the thesis project in the format of a Research plan (7,5 credits)

Grading system

Fail (U) or Pass (G).

Course literature and other teaching materials

Extracts from:
Krippendorff, K. (2006). The semantic turn: A new foundation for design. Boca Raton: Taylor & Francis.
Schön, D. (1987). Educating the reflective practitioner. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Further sources may be added according to the thesis project directions and individual learning needs.
Rodgers, P and Yee, J (editors), (2014) The Routledge Companion to Design Research, Routledge
These readings will be complemented by resources available online.
Further sources may be added according to the thesis project directions and individual learning needs.

Course evaluation

Plenary discussion and individual written evaluation, focusing on the learning outcomes and the means for achieving them (learning activities, resources, course organization etc.).


The education is provided by the Faculty of Culture and Society at the School of Arts and Communication.

Further information

Studentservice, K3 - Malmö universitet,


18 January 2021 - 28 March 2021 Day-time 100% Malmö Schedule This course is offered as part of a program

Tuition fees

for non-EU students only

First instalment: 57000 SEK
Full tuition Fee: 57000 SEK

17 January 2022 - 27 March 2022 Day-time 100% Malmö This course is offered as part of a program

16 January 2023 - 26 March 2023 Day-time 100% Malmö This course is offered as part of a program