Action Research and Iterative Design Methods

As well as using my GitHub commits as a data collection tool, I am going to use this blog alongside personally (and hopefully others too) using my Driver Timer in a working environment.

This cycle of creating, testing and then making amendments is known as iterative design and action research.

No theory can tell us every- thing—or, in a sense, anything—we need to know to participate in a practical activity. Practical knowledge comes only with the accumulation of direct experience.
(Robert Craig, 2006)

A big advocate of this approach is Donald Schon ( Some quotes from Schon, along with many others can be read at this very interesting document (

Another prominent figure to consider would be German philosopher Martin Heidegger ( who takes a slightly different point of view to Schon.

Heidegger emphasizes that interpretation is a matter of working out what is implicit in the tacit preunderstanding that provides the necessary preconditions for interpretation. Schön, in contrast, emphasizes the role of discovery, through which designers creatively discover surprising consequences of their design moves. These two components of interpretation must be integrated in a comprehensive theory.

Iterative design is the key part of action research. Here are some example diagrams of generic iterative design cycles which I should base my person design cycle on.



November 6, 2014