Immodest proposals: Research through design and knowledge

Jeffrey Bardzell, Shaowen Bardzell, Lone Koefoed Hansen

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

    77 Scopus citations


    This paper offers theoretical support for research through design (RTD) by arguing that to legitimize and make use of research through design as research, HCI researchers need to explore and clarify how RTD objects contribute to knowledge. One way to pursue this goal is to leverage knowledge-producing tactics of the arts and humanities traditions of aesthetics, key among which is a communitywide and ongoing critical analysis of aesthetic objects. Along these lines, we argue that while the intentions of the object's designer are important and annotations are a good mechanism to articulate them, the critical reception of objects can be equally generative of RTD's knowledge impacts. Such a scholarly critical reception is needed because of the potential inexhaustibility of design objects' meanings, their inability to be paraphrased adequately. Offering a multilevel analysis of the (critical) design fiction Menstruation Machine by Sputniko!, the paper explores how design objects co-produce knowledge, by working through complex design problem spaces in non-reductive ways, proposing new connections and distinctions, and embodying design ideas and processes across time and minds.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Title of host publicationCHI 2015 - Proceedings of the 33rd Annual CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
    Subtitle of host publicationCrossings
    PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
    Number of pages10
    ISBN (Electronic)9781450331456
    StatePublished - Apr 18 2015
    Event33rd Annual CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2015 - Seoul, Korea, Republic of
    Duration: Apr 18 2015Apr 23 2015

    Publication series

    NameConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings


    Other33rd Annual CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2015
    Country/TerritoryKorea, Republic of

    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

    • Software
    • Human-Computer Interaction
    • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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