A conceptual framework for multidisciplinary design research with example application to agent-based modeling

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The design community traditionally excels at multidisciplinary research efforts, integrating work from social science, engineering, computer science, and other disciplines. Simultaneously, design is also developing as a discipline in its own right. In order to balance a multidisciplinary1 tradition against consolidation around a core set of disciplinary foundations, the design community must make intentional decisions about engaging in multidisciplinary research. Towards this end, we propose the Degrees of Disciplinarity Framework, a lingua franca for describing varying relationships between disciplines in a given research effort. We also introduce research archetypes in relation to this conceptual framework and provide examples of the framework using agent-based modeling research in design. Further, we discuss implications of this framework for the education of future design practitioners and researchers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101074
JournalDesign Studies
StatePublished - Jan 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Architecture
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Artificial Intelligence

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