Critical Documentation practices

‘Developing Critical Documentation practices for design researchers’,
Design Studies, 2020. Full article:

This article presents guidelines for developing a critical documentation practice; a generative approach to documenting design research which emphasises drawing out the interplay between design practice and literature/precedents, to build a ‘credible evidence base’ for scholarly reporting. The guidelines are targeted at design researchers – particularly students and designers new to scholarship – conducting design practice as a mode of inquiry. The guidelines facilitate capturing and critiquing four categories of research activity: creating progressive overview maps, analysis of contextual anchors (key literature and practice precedents), reflective experiment logs (of iterative design processes) and peer critique. The guidelines are contextualised within design literature and pedagogy. A case study demonstrates how insights from a critical documentation practice drive both design and research agendas of a project.

Keywords: reflective practice, design methods, design education, design critique, documentation