Studio Resources


If you work better with comprehensive books, this is for you. It is a whole book just for designers about approaches and methodologies to creative research.

A menu of different research methods for each stage of the design process. Each method is one page with great graphics and explicitly states what design phase it is most appropriate for. Very user friendly, more focused on product and experience design.


I grouped these into three categories. I do not mean to imply you should arrange your presentation this way - you should design your presentation in a way that feels good to you based on your project. Remember: while this is about sharing your prototypes, this is still about defending the importance and value of your work.


  • Have someone proofread your slide deck. Louisa or I am more than happy to do this. You should have NO SPELLING OR GRAMMATICAL ERRORS.

  • Don’t forget to look at your audience.

  • Be sure to speak up.


  • Don’t read from your slides. If you have speaker notes, don’t read directly from those - use them as a guide and be sure to look up at your audience.

  • More images, less text. Show any play testing images if you have them.


  • Have an introduction slide with your name.

  • Give your critics context. Tell them why you are interested in what you are doing - you love history, you studied fashion and want to find a new inspiration process, you’re continuing research from MS 1, etc. Don’t spend too much time on this, but mention it briefly so they know where you’re coming from.

  • State your updated research question briefly. They will want to know what your thesis is responding to or trying to solve for.

  • Tell them who your audience is.


  • State your design values. Again, these are your personal guidelines about what is important to you in your thesis. For example, “Anyone should be able to use this tool. I will keep instructions minimal” or “Kids are at the center of this. I want them to be an integral part of my research and project development” or “Be playful, don’t be too serious.”

  • When sharing your prototypes, you should state

    1. What questions you hoped to answer with this prototype - why did you make this prototype?

    2. What the prototype is - be concise and don't spend too long on just one.

    3. What findings you had from any testing you did and how these findings led you to the next prototype. .

  • Decide one big takeaway you want them to leave with. What is the most important idea of this presentation?


  • State your draft concept statement. Give us enough time to read it. Use the word “draft.”

  • Discuss why your project is important. What impact do you want it to have? What value is it adding? What gap does it fill? Why is it a worth spending a year on? (Side note: Don’t let these questions send you into an existential thesis spiral. You should think about them deeply and articulate it during your presentation.)

  • Have a closing slide with your name and a main image, idea, concept statement, etc.


Post-it mapping exercise to narrow down your ideas into more refined domains and research questions.

Use to guide your interview prep and post-analysis. Part of Week 1 R & W assignment

Sample design questions

Here are a few examples of early design research questions:

  • Can experimenting with interface design and p-comp encourage underserved teenagers to be interested in STEM?particularly learning to build switches and add sound and light to art projects

  • Can a role-playing digital game deployed in colleges of education empower pre-service teachers to use community based methodologies to reach learning outcomes?

  • Can an entertaining television program for pre-schoolers prepare underserved children with cognitive skills necessary to succeed in Kindergarten and early grades?

  • Can a game without a set path tell a story with as much power as a linear narrative by employing mythological archetypes?

  • Can a facilitated game session impart knowledge to participants so they retain more information after the facilitation session than a standard powerpoint lecture in the same amount of time?

If you're having trouble formulating one, try this formula:

Can [X] do [Y] by / with / through / as a result of / etc [Z]?

Instead of "do" try inserting another verb. As you gather precedents and read through descriptions, start a word list that you can refer back to and use as you craft your questions. I (Liza here) do this *all the time* when I am researching a new domain to build my vocabulary.

Overview of different types of and approaches to creative research. If this feels a bit overwhelming, see the method cards below.

Creative research strategies from Week 2 gallery walk.

Short, concrete exercises for every phase of the design process with a focus on inclusive design. For more information on inclusive design, see their Inclusive Design Toolkit Manual as well.

The activity cards are designed to support many different goals and outcomes. They’re organized according to five phases of a design process – follow them as a linear, comprehensive guide or use them more freely to supplement your existing practices. Working in tandem with the Support cards, these serve as a great introduction to inclusive design.

Your "Surviving Thesis" tips


Overview of different prototyping techniques.

Refine your research question and examine its central properties.

Design Values Blog post (by John Sharp)

Discusses the importance of defining and integrating design values and the ways in which it shapes creative practice.

Methods and approaches to human-centered design. This has resources spanning the design process.

Class Slides

Week 6: Prototyping I + Design Values

Week 7: Prototyping II


Overview and approaches to testing your prototypes.

To help plan your external tests.

Class Slides

Week 11: Testing


Brief for your Final Design Process document

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