Designers pp 217-232 | Cite as

Event Scales and Social Dimensions in Design Practice

  • David F. Radcliffe


One of the difficulties in comparing results across empirical design studies is the disparity in duration of the events studied and different levels of social complexity involved. This paper proposes a schema that characterises a piece of design work according to the event scale of interest (the duration of the event that you are paying attention to) plus the corresponding social dimension (the degree of socio- cultural complexity of the work setting). A Social Dimension - Event Scale framework is then constructed and used to map a diverse range of design studies conducted in natural settings. The same schema is used to highlight the use of physical objects including prototypes as carriers of design knowledge. Three types of prototype are described; impromptu, proof-of-concept and embodiment. The schema is also used to describe the nature of tacit knowledge. Three domains of tacit design knowledge - technical, commercial and cultural - are identified.


Event Scale Tacit Knowledge Social Dimension Design Practice Design Work 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer-Verlag London Limited 1998

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  • David F. Radcliffe

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