Method content theory: Towards a new understanding of methods in design

Jaap Daalhuizen*, Philip Cash

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Design methods capture key procedural knowledge, central to design process, practice, and education. However, a more robust explanation of the method phenomenon is needed. We move towards answering this need by proposing, and quantitatively testing, a Method Content Theory; addressing i) how methods function in context; ii) the elements of method content i.e. Method Framing, Method Rationale, Method Goal, Method Procedure, and Method Mindset; and iii) predictors of method performance. We provide initial quantitative validation for the proposed theory demonstrating strong predictive power for methodological performance indicators. We build on this to define a future research agenda. Our results have implications for research, education and practice, along with the potential for actionable insights in design methodology, method development and validation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101018
JournalDesign Studies
Early online date8 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes


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