Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Version

Published Version

Publication Date


Journal or Book Title

Undisciplined! Design Research Society Conference 2008

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Last Page


Conference Title

Design Research Society Conference 2008

Conference Date

July 16–19, 2008


Sheffield, ENG, United Kingdom


The aim of this study is to analyze the structure, role, and effectiveness of a design student's "process book" as a method of capturing and facilitating design thinking. The "process book" includes all of the work completed during a design project such as written notes, drawings, and research. This study poses the following research questions: 1) What role and value does the process book have to design students and instructors? 2) How can the process book structure help to reduce a student’s cognitive load, yet allow for the spontaneous actions involved in graphic thinking?

This mixed-method research study includes an analysis and exploration of interior design student and instructor perspectives of the process book artifact and tool. The data collection and analysis involves two main components. The first includes an investigation of student and faculty perspectives of the structure, role, and effectivenss of the process book obtained from semi-structured interviews. The second part is an online student survey questionnaire of sophomore, junior, senior, and graduate student perspectives. One interior design program in a large Midwestern university was selected. All students within the undergraduate and graduate program were invited to participate in the survey questionnaire and all faculty were interviewed. Interviews were audio-taped and later transcribed for coding and interpretation.

This study serves as a case study and pilot study to provide a foundation for a larger-scale future research initiative. Results from this study will inform two future initiatives: 1) design of a larger-scale research design involving a multi-university sampling frame, and 2) development of a “digital process book” research study.

Copyright Owner

Lori A. Brunner



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