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A Guide to Interior Design Research

Use this guide as a starting place for your research related to the field of interior design.

What is a Program?

  • Programming is a process during which information about a problem is collected, analyzed, and clearly stated to provide a basis for design.
  • It defines a problem before a solution is attempted.
  • Programming is problem analysis whereas design is problem synthesis.

Defining a Problem

Identifying current industry trends is an important part of defining your topic and problem.

Trends may include*:

  • Aging in place
  • Antropometry
  • Barrier-free design
  • Biomimicry
  • Business of design
  • Corporate design
  • Environmental behavior
  • Ergonomics
  • Facilities planning
  • Green/sustainable design
  • Healthcare design
  • Historic preservation and restoration
  • Hospitality design
  • Human factors
  • Institutional design
  • Lighting design
  • Modularity/impermanence
  • Museum and exhibit design
  • Residential design
  • Resiliency
  • Retail design
  • Set design
  • Universal design
  • Way-finding methods

*Botti-Salitsky, R. (2017). Programming & research : Skills and techniques for interior designers (Second ed.).

Questions to consider:

  • What is the problem?
  • Why is it worth investigating and learning about?
  • What opportunities exist within this problem?
  • Have others tried to solve this problem?
  • What is the scope of the problem (including sub-problems)?
  • What are the limitations of the problem?

Locating Case Studies

A case study is a research strategy that uses "an empirical inquiry that investigates a phenomenon or setting" in its real life context; it is an in-depth study of an instance, event, or situation.

When you compare more than one case study, it's called comparative case study research. You may identify themes when engaging with multiple examples and cases.

Locating Theory & Interdisciplinary Research

More resources listed under Books and Articles tabs

Additional Resources