Volume 6 Issue 2 (2010): Research Practice in Art and Design: Experiential Knowledge and Organised Inquiry
Experiential Knowledge in Doctoral Research

Researcher Practice: Embedding Creative Practice Within Doctoral Research in Industrial Design

Mark Andrew Evans
Loughborough University
Published January 20, 2011
  • researcher practice,
  • industrial design,
  • product design,
  • PhD


This article considers the potential for a researcher to use their own creative practice as a method of data collection. Much of the published material in this field focuses on more theoretical positions, with limited use being made of specific PhDs that illustrate the context in which practice was undertaken by the researcher. It explores strategies for data collection and researcher motivation during what the author identifies as "researcher practice." This is achieved through the use of three PhD case studies. Methods of data collection focus on: (a) the use of output from practice for quantitative data collection (i.e., for comparative analysis), (b) the use of output from practice for qualitative data collection (i.e., reflection on new working practice), and (c) the use of output from practice for data translation (i.e., using research output to produce a creative design solution for a tool that can be used for further data collection and validation). The article discusses the methodologies employed in the case studies to identify themes which enable the definition of a generic researcher practitioner methodology. It notes the significance of creative practice in support of data collection and the differences between researcher practice and commercial practice, and emphasises the contribution of researcher practice towards personal motivation.