The creative translation of design methods into social research contexts

Ricardo Sosa, Lisa Helen Grocott

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


The ongoing COVID-​19 pandemic invites imaginative action to adapt to ways of living that only a few months ago were unimaginable. Creativity can lead researchers toward ingenious workarounds when major disruptions impede familiar practices. Creativity can also play a substantial role for researchers who seek to respond to the wickedness and messiness revealed as the novel coronavirus makes visible the close connections between health, economic, political and societal issues. Researchers may respond in various ways, from reformulating long-​established research questions and approaches to exploring new transdisciplinary collaborations. The path to a ‘new research normal’ starts with methodological innovation, and this chapter suggests how methods normally used in creative design practice can inform this journey. The chapter unfolds the methodological issues and tensions that characterize the usage of design methods in the contexts of practice-​informed academic research.

The authors locate themselves in the intersection between design and research, thus adopting a stance of ‘designerly researchers and researcherly designers’ (Yee, 2017). Their work in this crossroads draws from their experiences as designers to contribute to the innovative transformation of research in a world of imminent disruptions. In doing this, they also draw from their experiences in academia to consolidate inquiry practices in design research. The work presented here is motivated by the insight that ‘knowledge, experience, and skills from almost any arena can make a useful contribution to research’ (Kara, 2015), and specifically asks what design contributes to research collaborations (Grocott and Sosa, 2018).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearching in the Age of COVID-​19
Subtitle of host publicationCreativity and Ethics
EditorsHelen Kara, Su-​ming Khoo
Place of PublicationBristol UK
PublisherPolicy Press
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)978​1​4473​6042​1, 978​1​4473​60438
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


  • Design Research
  • Interdisciplinary Research
  • Creative Research
  • Covid-19

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