The Use of Researcher Practice in the Design-Based PhD (June 2010)

Further to recent discussions on the PHD-DESIGN forum and a review of published material, there is a need for a resource that presents documented examples of completed PhD’s that include visually creative researcher practice in the design-based PhD. An opportunity exists for the design research community to generate a resource (with lots of images) that will be of benefit to new researchers, supervisors, and demonstrate the value of design-based researcher practice to the wider academy.

The focus of this call is for PhD case studies that demonstrate researcher practice in the form-giving disciplines that have a presence in design schools, professions and publications; such as (but not limited to) fashion, silversmith and jewellery, textiles, ceramics, furniture, interior, graphic, industrial/product, and architecture. The highly visual nature of researcher practice in these disciplines means that, in addition to descriptions of the research methodology, the publication will contain colour images of the design process and/or outcomes.

As the extent to which PhD researchers have recently engaged in design practice as a method of data collection is unknown, it is hoped that the 1700 members of this forum and their wider network will be able to support the creation of a resource that contains case study examples of best practice. The viability of creating this will ultimately depend on the number and quality of contributions received and the degree of uncertainty in the project means that book/journal publishers have not yet been contacted. This will be undertaken when contributions have been received and the review process, managed by the Design Practice Research Group at Loughborough Design School, is complete. However, in the unlikely event of publishers not wishing to collaborate in this venture, the publication of the resource as either a book or web-based resource will be underwritten by the Design Practice Research Group of Loughborough Design School (subject to contributions being of sufficient quality).

As the call requires the submission of PhD’s that have already been completed, the first deadline is relatively tight which supports the aim of publishing the material as soon as possible. The deadlines are as follows:

  • 30 May 2010, call launched
  • 25 June 2010, deadline for receipt of outline proposals using pro-forma (below)
  • 16 July 2010, short-listed contributors contacted with request for full papers
  • 13 August 2010, deadline for full papers

If you would like to submit a summary of a completed PhD, please use the pro-forma below and email it as a pdf to by 25 June 2010.

Dr Mark Evans
Loughborough Design School


Title of thesis:

Academic supervisor(s):

Name PhD researcher:


Year PhD awarded:

Summary of researcher’s design qualifications/professional experience prior to PhD (one paragraph):


Diagram of research methodology for PhD (only if readily available):

Please include four to six images that capture the essence of the design process and/or design outcome(s) with brief descriptors for each:

Image 1:
Image 2:
Image 3:
Image 4:
Image 5:
Image 6:

Outline submitted by:

Email address:

About Fil Salustri
I'm a design methodologist and Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada. Adjectives that describe me include: secular humanist, meritocrat, and long-winded. Some people call me a positivist too, as if that were a bad thing. Go figure. My real home page is

3 Responses to The Use of Researcher Practice in the Design-Based PhD (June 2010)

  1. Michael says:

    Brilliant idea! Is there also a link to another website or is this it?
    Oh, I see, it was a posting on phd-design where i am 500+ mails behind.

    Thanks for posting … will pass it on.

    Do you know how many people regularly read this page? Subscription to RSS (such as myself).
    Greetings, Michael

    • Fil Salustri says:


      There’s been just under 17,000 hits on this blog since I started it in Oct 2009. I’d guess I currently get about 50 hits a day, with occasional spikes up around 150-200, especially at the start of the month when I post a summary of the previous month’s posts to various lists.


  2. Pingback: PhD/Doktorarbeit schon fertig? — Call for PhD « design promoviert

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