Developing (architectural) design knowledge: A learner-researcher study | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 12, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 1474-273X
  • E-ISSN: 2040-0896



While design researchers use diverse approaches to study designing, non-designers face specific impediments in adopting these research approaches in their quest to gain design knowledge. Recognizing such challenges, this article outlines how an education academic engineered a first-person methodology to investigate the nature of designing. Through undertaking a learner-researcher study in an undergraduate architectural design basics subject, learning about design through learning to design, she tracked her developing design ideas and crystallized a view of architectural designing as a three-phase heuristic for value selection: imagining possibilities, interpreting ideas to form architectural principles and distilling quality. This article concludes by speculating on various research directions arising from this learner-researcher methodology and a view of designing as value selection and, in particular, provoking consideration of how similar developmental data might be collected and analysed for explanatory insights in diverse design and educational contexts.


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