Course Title: Methods in Design Research and Practice

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Methods in Design Research and Practice

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


315H Architecture & Design


Sem 1 2006,
Sem 2 2006,
Sem 2 2007,
Sem 2 2008,
Sem 2 2009,
Sem 2 2010,
Sem 2 2011,
Sem 2 2012,
Sem 2 2013


City Campus


320H Architecture & Urban Design


Sem 2 2014,
Sem 2 2015,
Sem 1 2016,
Sem 2 2016,
Sem 1 2017,
Sem 2 2017


City Campus


370H Design


Sem 1 2018,
Sem 2 2018,
Sem 1 2019,
Sem 2 2019,
Sem 1 2020,
Sem 2 2020,
Sem 1 2021,
Sem 2 2021,
Sem 1 2022,
Sem 2 2022,
Sem 1 2023,
Sem 2 2023,
Sem 1 2024

Course Coordinator: Juan Sanin

Course Coordinator Phone: Please email

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: Please email

Course Coordinator Availability: Please email

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

Methods in Design Research and Practice offers you an opportunity to explore a range of design research methods frameworks to structure your continuing studies in design. You will develop a critical appreciation of the roles and processes of primary and secondary research, representation practices within design research, data acquisition, evaluative frameworks, and how to approach a research concern in a rigorous and ethical manner. You will develop analytical and research skills, including the ability to translate design generated information, scholarly approaches to literature and case studies into a cohesive argument for future design research.

If you are enrolled in this course as a component of your Bachelor Honours Program, your overall mark will contribute to the calculation of the weighted average mark (WAM). See the WAM information web page for more information.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

In this course you will develop the following program learning outcomes:

Apply analytical, critical, creative and strategic thinking to industrial design problems and research within complex and unfamiliar contexts and concerns.

Articulate complex design ideas to diverse audiences through an advanced and adaptable repertoire of communication strategies and technologies.

Advocate through design practice the improvement of the conditions and well being of people, cultural practices and environments.

Initiate, plan, manage and execute research and design projects with independence and in an objective and ethical manner.

Reflect on own learning and the efficacy of design decisions made, adapting to needs and issues as they arise, and continuously seeking improvement.

Demonstrate through practice-based design research an advanced knowledge of the socio-technical, environmental and economic eco-systems of industrial design both locally and globally.

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

1) Evidence ideas in response to specific methods of research, and conduct research practices in an ethical and responsible manner.

2) Collaborate in critique to share ideas and insights with peers, and be reflectively critical of ones own work.

3) Analyse key ideas from design theory with reference to their historical and contextual origins in order to frame future design and research activities.

Overview of Learning Activities

You will be introduced to various modes of contemporary design and research practice. These practices will include readings, textual thematic analysis, concept diagramming, and analysis of design representational processes. You will be actively engaged in learning that involves a range of face to face and online activities such as lectures, tutorials, discussions, group and individual research, presentations, academic writing, peer review and associated design activities. You are encouraged and expected to contribute (in an ongoing manner) to tutorial discussions and to present your work and ideas in an open way for appraisal by peers.

Overview of Learning Resources

RMIT will provide you with resources and tools for learning in this course through our online systems.

To effectively participate in coursework, either on or away from campus, you are advised to obtain (as a minimum) the following:

  • Drawing Supplies including visual diaries, pens, pencils, markers and ancillary products and consumables.
  • Personal Protective Equipment including protective eye-wear, ear plugs, a dust jacket, and closed toe safety shoes
  • Prototyping Supplies including a 150mm steel ruler, a high quality craft knife and ancillary products, materials and consumables.
  • Design and Documentation Equipment including a personal computer of an appropriate specification, course specific software, a digital camera and a mobile phone.

    When on campus you will have access to and will utilise the School of Design workshop facilities, specialist computer labs and software, and 2D and 3D printing facilities.

    Course specific resources such as readings, reference lists, access to specialist software, video demonstrations and class notes will be provided online.

    There are services available to support your learning through the University Library. The Library provides guides on academic referencing and subject specialist help as well as a range of study support services. For further information, please visit the Library page on the RMIT University website and the myRMIT student portal.

Overview of Assessment

You will be assessed on how well you meet the course learning outcomes and on your development against the program learning outcomes.

Assessment Tasks

Assessment Task 1: Abstract, 10% CLO1

Assessment Task 2: Draft Literature Review, 20% CLO1, CLO2, CLO3

Assessment Task 3: Representations, 30%, CLO1, CLO2, CLO3

Assessment Task 4: Report, 40%, CLO1, CLO2, CLO3

Feedback will be given on all assessment tasks. If you have a long term medical condition and/or disability it may be possible to negotiate to vary aspects of the learning or assessment methods. You can contact the program coordinator or Equitable Learning Services if you would like to find out more. Your course assessment conforms to RMIT assessment principles, regulations, policies, procedures and instructions.