Stimulus in Design Research

This course explores the method of stimulus in primary design research as a complement to the cornerstone methods of user observation and stakeholder interviews.

When a topic is extremely intangible, difficult to observe, narrowly focused, or sensitive in nature, stimulus (provocative and tangible objects or experiences) are an effective way to explore a topic and arrive at useful insight for the purposes of design.

Learning Objectives

  • Explore new and creative methods for data collection and develop perspectives on when to use these methods in practice.
  • Compare and contrast other primary research methods with respect to stimulus based methods
  • Provide a forum for practicing and iterating research and data collection


Learning Outcomes
Students will be able to demonstrate how to:

  • Frame research objectives and justify methods based on these objectives
  • Plan and prototype several research methods, as well as evaluate their effectiveness
Managing Interdisciplinary Teams Design Connoisseurship Engaging Stakeholders in Innovation Special Topics Faculty Research Design Process and Knowledge Making the User Centered Case
Modeling Complexity Theories of Communication Fundamentals of Visual Communication Advanced Diagramming Metaphor and Analogy in Design Diagram Development Communication Strategies Communication Design Workshop
Extensions of Media and Technology Interactive Space Interaction Design for Embedded Systems Interaction Design for Immersive Systems Prototyping Interactions Persuasive Interaction Design History of Interaction Design Interaction Design Methods Digital Development Workshop Interaction Design Workshop
Planning + Strategy
Designing Futures Adaptive Leadership Strategies for Open Innovation Organizational Models for Innovation Social and Economic Context of Design New Venture Design Innovation Methods Planning Implementation Business Models and Value Webs Business Frameworks and Strategy Design Planning Workshop Introduction to Portfolio Planning
Design Development & Implementation Product Architecture and Platforms Form and Materials New Product Definition Product Design Workshop
Systems and Systems Theory in Design Networked Objects Networked Cities Human System Integration Systems Modeling and Prototyping Platform-based Design Strategy Systems Approach to Design Information Structuring and Management Structured Planning Workshop Service Systems Workshop
User Research
Stimulus in Design Research Behavioral Economics Online Research Methods Principles and Methods of User Research Coding and Analysis Co-Design and Participatory Research Methods Survey Methods Cultural Probes Experience Modeling Interview Methods Research Photography Research Planning & Execution