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Design science

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Title: Design science  
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Subject: Design, Design thinking, Engineering design process, Design management, Descriptive science
Collection: Evaluation Methods, Research, Research Methods, Science Studies
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Design science

Design science was introduced in 1963 by R. Buckminster Fuller [1] who defined it as a systematic form of designing. The concept of design science was taken up in S. A. Gregory's 1966 book of the 1965 Design Methods Conference [2] where he drew the distinction between scientific method and design method. Gregory was clear in his view that design was not a science and that design science referred to the scientific study of design. Herbert Simon in his 1968 Karl Taylor Compton lectures [3] used and popularized these terms in his argument for the scientific study of the artificial (as opposed to the natural). Over the intervening period the two terms have co-mingled to the point where design science has come to have both meanings, with the meaning of scientific study of design now predominating.


  • Science of design 1
  • Design as science 2
  • Design as science in information systems 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5

Science of design

The first edition of Simon's The Sciences of the Artificial,[4] published in 1969, built on previous developments and motivated the development of systematic and formalized design methodologies relevant to many design disciplines, for example architecture, engineering, urban planning, medicine, computer science, and management studies.[5][6][7][8][9][10] Simon's ideas about the science of design also motivated the development of design research and the scientific study of designing.[11] In his book Simon also used the idea of a theory of design alluding to design science as a science of design. For example, the axiomatic theory of design described in Suh [12] presents a domain independent theory that can explain or prescribe the design process. The Function-Behavior-Structure (FBS) ontology, described in Gero [13][14] presenting a domain independent ontology of design and designing, is another example. Developing from the idea of a 'design science' there has been recurrent concern to differentiate design from science.[2][15][16] Nigel Cross differentiated between scientific design, design science and a science of design.[17] The scientific study of design does not require or assume that the acts of designing are themselves scientific and an increasing number of research programs take this view.[11] Cross uses the term 'designerly' to distinguish designing from other kinds of human activity.[18]

Design as science

There is growing pressure on architects, engineers, lawyers, managers and other design-oriented professionals to act and decide on the basis of a systematic body of evidence.[19] Hevner and Chatterjee provide a reference on Design Science Research (DSR) in Information Systems,[20] including a selection of papers from the DESRIST conferences, a look at key principles of DSR, and the integration of action research with design research. In 2010, 122 professors promoted design science in information system research by signing a memorandum.

Design as science in information systems

Hevner et al. provide a set of seven guidelines which help information systems researchers conduct, evaluate and present design-science research.[21] The seven guidelines address design as an artifact, problem relevance, design evaluation, research contributions, research rigor, design as a search process, and research communication.

Later extensions of the Design Science framework detail how design and research problems can be rationally decomposed by means of nested problem solving.[22] It is also explained how the regulative cycle (problem investigation, solution design, design validation, solution implementation, and implementation evaluation) fits in the framework. Peffers et al.[23] developed a model for producing and presenting information systems research, the Design Science Research Process. The Peffers et al. model has been used extensively and Adams provides an example of the process model being applied to create a digital forensic process model.[24]

Example of Design Science research : The Business Model Ontology: a proposition in a design science approach.,[25] Design support for e-commerce information systems using goal, business and process modelling,[26] Aligning Access Rights to Governance Needs with the Responsibility MetaModel (ReMMo) in the Frame of Enterprise Architecture.[27]

See also


  1. ^ Fuller; McHale (1965). "'World Design Science Decade, 1965-1975". World Resources Inventory. 
  2. ^ a b Gregory (1966). "'The Design Method". Butterworths. 
  3. ^ Simon (1996). "'The Sciences of the Artificial". MIT Press.  
  4. ^ Simon, Herbert A. The Sciences of the Artificial, MIT Press.
  5. ^ Baldwin; Clarke (2000). "'Design Rules, Vol. 1: The Power of Modularity". MIT Press.  
  6. ^ Banathy (1996). "'Designing Social Systems in a Changing World". Plenum, New York.  
  7. ^ Long; Dowell (1998). "'Conceptions of the discipline of HCI: Craft, applied science, and engineering". Cambridge University Press. 
  8. ^ Romme (2003). "'aking a difference: Organization as design". Organization Science. 
  9. ^ Van Aken (2004). "'Management research based on the paradigm of the design sciences: The quest for field-tested and grounded technological Rules". Journal of Management Studies. 
  10. ^ Warfield (1990). "'A Science of Generic Design". Intersystems Publishers. 
  11. ^ a b Gero (2004). "'The PhD Program in Design Science at the University of Sydney, Development and Prospects of PhD Programme in Design Science Education". Chaoyang University of Technology, Taiwan. 
  12. ^ Suh (1990). "The Axiomatic Theory of Design". Oxford University Press.  
  13. ^ Gero (1990). "'Design prototypes: a knowledge representation schema for design". AI Magazine. 
  14. ^ Gero (2004). "'The situated function-behaviour-structure framework". Design Studies. 
  15. ^ Cross; Naughton, Walker (1981). "'Design method and scientific method". 
  16. ^ Willem (1990). "'Design and Science". Design Studies. 
  17. ^ Cross (2001). "'Designerly Ways of Knowing: Design Discipline versus Design Science". Design Issues. 
  18. ^ Cross (2007). "'Designerly Ways of Knowing". Birkhauser.  
  19. ^ Van Aken; Romme (2009). "'Reinventing the future: adding design science to the repertoire of organization and management studies". Organization Management Journal. 
  20. ^ Hevner; Chatterjee (2010). "'Design Research in Information Systems". Springer.  
  21. ^ Hevner; March, Park, Ram (2004). "'Design science in information systems research". MIS Quarterly. 
  22. ^ Wieringa (2009). "'Design Science as nested problem solving". 4th International Conference on Design Science Research in Information Systems and Technology. 
  23. ^ Peffers; Tuunanen, Gengler, Rossi, Hui, Virtanen, Bragge (2006). The Design Science Research Process: A Model for Producing and Presenting Information Systems Research"'". springer. 
  24. ^ Adams (2013). The Advanced Data Acquisition Model (ADAM): A process model for digital forensic practice"'". Murdoch University. 
  25. ^ Osterwalder A. (2004). "The Business Model Ontology: a proposition in a design science approach" (PDF). 
  26. ^ Edirisuriya A. (2009). "Design support for e-commerce information systems using goal, business and process modelling". 
  27. ^ Feltus C. (2014). "Aligning Access Rights to Governance Needs with the Responsibility MetaModel (ReMMo) in the Frame of Enterprise Architecture" (PDF). 
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