“Play with your research. Because research is too important to be taken seriously!” – Amanda Cravens

We have developed a four day workshop that introduces interdisciplinary graduate students to how design thinking may be used to better design their research. This workshop focuses on design methodologies
specifically adapted for generating research ideas and designs in more creative ways. The workshop starts from the premise that while there are similarities and differences between design and research as ways of
thinking, many of the tools and methods developed for design in other contexts can be fruitfully transferred and applied in the process of designing and conducting academic research. Students come away with a new perspective on “doing research” as a creative endeavor as well as an analytical one.

Visual Prototyping of Research Ideas

Visual Prototyping of Research Ideas

Five main areas of focus include:
(1) problem finding and framing
(2) multi-disciplinary team building
(3) ideation/brainstorming
(4) prototyping/testing and
(5) storytelling.

Our workshop is an experiential “learning by doing” chance to explore the similarities and tensions between design thinking and analytic research. The workshop begins by mapping elements of the design cycle to the research processes students are familiar with, and drawing out differences that exist in research traditions across disciplines. We then introduce and practice concrete methods, tools, and exercises to allow students to play with their research and encourage out-of-the box thinking and creativity. Students also leave the workshop with a resource packet of methods and tools that serves as a reminder of what they did and a reference for when they are stuck in their research in the future and want
inspiration for using design thinking to innovate out of the obstacles.


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