Product Semantics in Design Research Practice

  • Jonas Sjöström
  • Brian Donnellan
  • Markus Helfert
Part of the IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology book series (IFIPAICT, volume 389)


The concept of product semantics and its focus on meaning is used to interpret design research as design. It is argued that we may conceive of design research as design in two realms: The practical and the academic. In doing design research, there is a reciprocal shaping of artifacts: Better artifacts (contributions to practice) through appropriation of knowledge and methods from the academic realm, and better knowledge artifacts (contributions to academia) by drawing relevance and experiences of appropriation from the practical realm. We adopt a product semantics view to discuss research as design. Product semantics highlights the meaning of artifacts with respect to their (i) stakeholders, (ii) artifacts-in-use, (iii), artifacts-in-language, (iv) artifact lifecycle, and (v) ecology. Based on this interpretation, we propose activities that should characterize the practice of doing design research. Finally we provide an example of Design Research Practice in action.


Design research practice meaning artifact 


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Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonas Sjöström
    • 1
  • Brian Donnellan
    • 2
  • Markus Helfert
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Informatics & Media and Department of Public Health and Caring SciencesUppsala UniversitySweden
  2. 2.Innovation Value InstituteNational University of Ireland MaynoothIreland
  3. 3.Dublin City UniversityIreland

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