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What is it and how do we define it?

Research is a term that in a way remains undefinable. There are many different, methods, approaches, and techniques to conducting ‘research’. Every discipline has there own historical discourse towards research and are continuing expand and develop their own definition. ‘Artistic-Based Research’ and ‘Design-Research’ are terms which becoming more widely recognised as Artistic/Design practices are crossing closer to other disciplines. But even within a specific category such as Design-Research you have very different approaches, various methodologies, and terms. ‘Design-Reserch’ could mean: Research on Design; Design through Research; Research through Design; Qualitative Research; Quantitative Research; User-Centered cetera


In terms of this class we will define practice-based research as an inherently critical approach to an investigation, and an investigation is formulated into questions.

We define practice-based research as: 1. An inherently critical approach to an investigation; 2. An investigation which is formulated into questions; 3. An investigation where the questions, analysis, and results (meaning entire process) have been made in open and transparent manner.

How do we start it?

Artistic-based research often begins with finding a theme. Then a period collecting and assembly of relevant sources begins. However, the mere collection of content should not be called ‘research’! The critical analysis (leaving behind assumptions and prejudice) of textual and visual sources, interviews, experiments, exhibition and manifestations is where it actually begins.

If it is a very well conducted research, an outsider should be able to fully follow your process and repeat it. If this outsider does not come to the same results, he or she should be able to logically understand how you came to such results.

List of 7 essential questions

  1. What is the theme I am investigating?
  2. What is my research question?
  3. How am I structuring my research?
  4. What tools or methods could I/will I use to conduct my research?
  5. What is the foreseen result?
  6. What is the difference between my foreseen result and the result which came through the process?
  7. Is 1. - 6. relevant?