van der Wath, Elana

Appreciative inquiry in design research: A case study from interior design



Design Education Research
Interior & Furniture Design

In the 2021 publication, 'The Ontology of Design Research', Miguel Angel Herrera Batista argues that the ongoing development of postgraduate programmes in design has led to a growing focus on establishing the field of inquiry as an independent and differentiated research area. For design research to contribute to disciplinary development, researchers need to focus not only on procedural rigour but also on ensuring that the philosophical foundations of selected methodological approaches align with the ontological reality of design. It is, therefore, necessary to encourage postgraduate students to investigate both familiar and novel research methodologies in the search for appropriate approaches to design research projects.

Simulated practice: The interior treatise through a cumulative design research process.



Design Education Strategy

Professional practice provides a context which requires design to be performed as an efficient and linear process (which may be a determining factor in the sustainability of practices). Research is an increasingly important component of accountability for design decisions.

‘Research Practice’ as Design Informant



Photography, Film & Multimedia

Rapid and ongoing global changes are forcing educators to consider how students can be supported to navigate these events successfully. Reports from the World Economic Forum (WEF 2018) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD 2018) highlight the need for developing learner and worker agency and for embedding curricula with projects that develop problem-solving skills; enable deep thinking and reflection; and focus on transferable skills, knowledge, attitudes and values. There is an ever-increasing need for knowledge-based practice in the design industry, and the value of design research in addressing cross-disciplinary challenges has been noted by several government agencies.

DEFSA conferences

DEFSA promotes relevant research with the focus on design + education through its biennial conferences, to promote professionalism, accountability and ethics in the education of young designers. Our next conference is a hybrid event. See above for details.

Critical skills endorsement

Professional Members in good standing can receive a certificate of membership, but DEFSA cannot provide confirmation or endorsement of skills whatsoever. DEFSA only confirm membership of DEFSA which is a NPO for Design Education in South Africa (