TDN4101 - Design research methods - 2019

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

- Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.


Art, Design and Architecture

Organisational Unit

Department of Design

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Jess Berry


Dr Jess Berry

Unit guides



  • First semester 2019 (On-campus block of classes)


  • First semester (extended) 2019 (On-campus block of classes)
  • Second semester 2019 (On-campus block of classes)


TAD3001 or equivalent from another institution


Enrolled in a Design 4001 Studio unit (dependent on stream)


TAD4523, TAD4521, TAD4522


The unit examines methodological approaches to design research, from the scientifically oriented to the phenomenological, the discursive and the poetic. Attention is given to the way in which the terms of an investigation inevitably shape the material which is discovered. The range of topics may include techniques in information gathering and efficient management of bibliographic resources, postmodern theory, difference studies, post-structural writing and deconstruction. The unit ponders the relationship of studio research (i.e. designing innovative objects or spaces or interfaces) to conventional research.


Upon successful completion of this unit students will:

  1. Be aware of current discourses in a range of disciplines which bear on contemporary design;
  2. Be able to pursue critical arguments with a sense of their relativity;
  3. Assess the bias of an investigative method, considering gender, class and ethnicity;
  4. Understand methodology as a critique of method and be able to practice criticism in their chosen field;
  5. Be ready to explain the basis of designs or art or craft objects not merely as the outcome of practical constraints but the expression of cultural values.


100% in-semester assessment

Workload requirements

12 hours per week including 2 contact hours plus 10 hours of independent study.

See also Unit timetable information