ICoRD'13 pp 41-60 | Cite as

Advancing Design Research: A “Big-D” Design Perspective

  • Christopher L. Magee
  • Kristin L. Wood
  • Daniel D. Frey
  • Diana Moreno
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Mechanical Engineering book series (LNME)


Advances in design research representations and models are needed as the interfaces between disciplines in design become blurred and overlapping, and as design encompasses more and more complex systems. A conceptual framework known as “Big-D” Design, as coined by Singapore’s newest national university (the Singapore University of Technology and Design or SUTD), may provide a meaningful and useful context for advancing design research. This paper is an initial examination of the implications for scientific design research on using this particular framework. As part of the analysis, the paper proposes a simplified decomposition of the broader concept in order to explore potential variation within this framework. It is found that many research objectives are better investigated when the broader design field is studied than in a singular category or domain of design. The paper concludes by recommending aggressive attempts to (1) arrive at a coherent set of terminology and research methodologies relative to design research that extend over at least all of technologically-enabled design and (2) perform epistemological and ontological studies of the relationship of engineering science and technologically-enabled design science as there is more overlap between them than is generally recognized.


Design research Technologically-intensive design Heuristics Principles Design theory 



The authors thank Professor Robert W. Weisberg for many helpful comments on an earlier and partial draft. This work is supported by the SUTD-MIT International Design Center.


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Copyright information

© Springer India 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher L. Magee
    • 1
  • Kristin L. Wood
    • 2
  • Daniel D. Frey
    • 3
  • Diana Moreno
    • 2
  1. 1.SUTD-MIT International Design Center CambridgeMA and Singapore MITCambridgeUSA
  2. 2.SUTD-MIT International Design Center CambridgeMA and Singapore SUTDDoverSingapore
  3. 3.SUTD-MIT International Design Center CambridgeMA and Singapore MITCambridgeUSA

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