04 ‘Where no man has gone before!’ – Exploring new knowledge in design-based research projects: A treatise on phenomenology in design studies

Peter F. E. Sloane


Design-based research (DBR) is a programme where researchers co-operate with practitioners to work out new solutions. In DBR researchers interfere in daily life and participate in practitioners’ working processes. One open question is: What kind of knowledge can be generated in these projects? My starting point here is a DBR project in vocational education and training in Germany which is used for an investigation of the epistemological background of this kind of research enterprise. The characteristics of DBR are reflected on the basis of phenomenological and hermeneutical approaches. The basic assumptions of these concepts are introduced and applied to the DBR approach to show how DBR generally works and how, specially, features of DBR like participation in daily life, co-operation with practitioners, gathering knowledge in the field a. s. o. can be handled.

The line of argumentation in this contribution is a radical switch between practical questions in daily work in DBR on one hand and theoretical re-assurance on the other hand. For researchers, DBR is an enterprise in a new world. The analytical paradigm does not prepare the voyagers for this journey. Therefore the non-analytic continental tradition of philosophy has to be re-discovered.


first-person-perspective; life-world-approach; participating in daily life; phenomenological movement and DBR; phenomenological reduction

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15460/eder.1.1.1026