Where do the designers get an idea to start research? What makes a design reach its complete form? Does the effort of the designer or the design iteration matter? Let’s dive in. Quite literally as it means, developmental research designs are studies or developmental forms of a design. It helps in analyzing and examining the design and helps to get ready to launch the idea. Mainly conducted by the designer, they make iterations and improve the quality of the design. They are usually progressive forms of research based on the designs, making it easier for the designer to compile data.

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Research Methodologies_© https://www.kit.edu/research/

Why is it Necessary? | Developmental Research Designs

Every design addresses particular problems. Therefore, thorough checking and analysis are significant to understand the limits of the design. Research is often cohered to academics, although it is more systematic and related to the analysis of certain subjects. Research in professional practice develops the workflow. In a design studio, this learning process is beneficial to all who are involved in the project.

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People have different opinions, ideologies, and views. Due to these unique minds working together, it puts together different strategies to address the problems. Research development becomes valid once the majority of the people involved approve it and applied successfully. Similar to academic research, it also guides the younger designer to kick start a similar topic that they can further develop.

How is it related to architecture?

It takes a lot of time and constant reviews to make a perfect design. In architecture, all the structures erected around us have gone through numerous criticisms and design iterations to reach the final form. Design iterations are part of the design process, so the architect knows where to work. They work on all aspects of the designs. Be it on plans, elevations, sections, 3D visualization, mechanical and electrical drawings, or interior and structural drawings, this list is endless. During this process all architects and engineers involved in the project put their insight into the project, aiding in the developmental stage of the design. Such constructive criticisms help to build the project further into workable designs. Each architectural project has the main concern regarding the workability and safety of its users, so developmental research designs based on the projects help the architect to check off the parameters based on the project.

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In architecture, various issues still need to be addressed. Geographical limitations, material limitations, technological advances, lesser ideas, environmental issues, cultural aspects, etc are some of the problems that currently require fixing. These problems are still being resolved with research and executed with successful designs. Many prototypes are made to test and with trial and error methods, through which many spatial perspectives we are now familiar with developed. Architectural research magnifies the bigger picture, a design-related problem mostly related to the foreground of the design. 

Development Research Methodology

Research methodologies are of various types it can be theoretical, experimental, statistical, analytical, or through surveys. 

Typically the first method is to analyze the end product and the process development. Secondly, it focuses on how it influences the users and the impact it creates on the organization.

The third is the overall assessment and analysis of the product, the design options, and the development process. This study also focuses on a detailed overview of the design.

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Experimental Research_©https://www.kit.edu/research/

After the study, the report made enables to understand the whole process and the end product. Theoretical analysis and practical analysis have distinct differences. Therefore, it is necessary that the designer knows the difference and works to overcome it. Working prototype models help in identifying issues based on the related design.

The next big challenge is to convey the design and conclusion of the topic to the general audience or the public. As far as how it is effective to society, the public must become aware of it.

Connection Between research and practice

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There is a fine line between research and practice. Research focuses on the theoretical study and allows deep insight into the topic. Professional practice, on the other hand, gives a more reliable result which also helps to understand if the design is workable and presentable to the public. Research topics are selected based on the current problems and trends, those which require particular solutions. Research lines up with pieces of evidence to practice. While research is conducted with a combination of methods and tests, practical knowledge enables one to confirm the facts and comprehend the outcome.

Developmental Research Conclusion

In an overview, developmental research helps in the developmental process of the design, which in turn makes it possible for the designer, confidently prove their concept of design. All design projects are academic and industrial, both systematically and technically. The starting point of any research is constant review and feedback from the user. That is how designers know where to focus. However, the proper closure of any developmental research is when people are involved rather than the success of the design itself.


Stricker, G. and Keisner, R.H. (1985). The Relationship between Research and Practice. From Research to Clinical Practice, pp.3–14. doi:10.1007/978-1-4684-4820-7_1.

Richey, R.C. (2019). Developmental Research: The Definition and Scope. [online] Ed.gov. Available at: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED373753.

courses.lumenlearning.com. (n.d.). Developmental Research Designs | Lifespan Development. [online] Available at: https://courses.lumenlearning.com/wm-lifespandevelopment/chapter/developmental-research-designs/.

Baird, A. (2019). Developmental Research Designs. ecampusontario.pressbooks.pub. [online] Available at: https://ecampusontario.pressbooks.pub/alwaysdeveloping/chapter/developmental-research-designs/.

Aydemir, A.Z. and Jacoby, S. (2022). Architectural design research: Drivers of practice. The Design Journal, 25(4), pp.657–674. doi:10.1080/14606925.2022.2081303.


Based in the Dubai, Akshaya Ashok Kumar is a young Architect keen on exploring the integrity of architecture as a profession . She believes that architecture is more than just building spaces and structures. Being an introvert by nature, she voices out her thoughts through words.