Building a Discipline: Indicators of Expansion, Integration and Consolidation in Design Research across Four Decades

Bo Christensen, Linden J. Ball

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Sparked by concerns with increased domain fragmentation in design research, we explored indicators of expansion, integration and consolidation in this area of enquiry through the lens of publications in Design Studies across the 40-years since the journal's inception. We examined several key indicators, including authors' disciplinary affiliations, levels of cross-disciplinary co-authorships, the increasing centrality of the term ‘design’ in stated university affiliations, the nature of citation patterns, the consolidation of core domain concepts over time and the role of esteemed authors as central ‘curators’ of design knowledge. We conclude that the Design Studies community has historically proven to be eminently capable of expanding its reach to new sub-disciplines through conceptual integration, whilst simultaneously consolidating the core foundation of design research.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDesign Studies
Pages (from-to)18-34
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019

Bibliographical note

Published online: 14. November 2019


  • Design research
  • Design knowledge
  • Collaborative design
  • Interdisciplinarity
  • Science of design

Cite this