Four Criteria for Design Theory
PhD students Peter Hodges, Jaime Rivera, Robert Faller, Amanda Geppert, in collaboration with former ID faculty member Stan Ruecker and visiting scholar Celso Scaletsky present an analysis and reflection of discussions from the past 50 years on norms for studying and building theory in the design field in their article for the special issue on “Transforming Design Matters” for She Ji: The Journal of Design, Economics, and Innovation.The authors argue that theory in design has specific characteristics. One example of this is using “if-then” language to explain and predict actual aspects of designing. Therefore, they argue that we need specific criteria for evaluating or creating theories in design. Establishing baseline criteria enables theories in design to be revisited, debated, strengthened, and expanded while setting the parameters for outlining new theories.