Scientific journal

New Psychological Research

Guseltseva M.S. Review of the William Gaver’s et al. article “Emergence as a Feature of Practice-based Design Research” (2022)

Marina S. Guseltseva, Sc.D. (Psychology), Associate professor, Federal Scientific Center for Psychological and Interdisciplinary Research, Moscow, Russia; bld. 9–4, Mokhovaya str., Moscow, Russia, 125009; Russian State University for the Humanities, Moscow, Russia; bld. 6, Miusskaya square, Moscow, Russia, 125047;

The overview of the article “Emergence as a Feature of Practice-based Design Research” by William Gaver (London), Peter Krogh (Aarhus), Andy Boucher (London) and David Chatting (London) is presented. The authors argue that practice-based design research often emerges spontaneously. Methods, tactics, goals, and even research topics can evolve and change as researchers pursue their projects. Moreover, as these projects unfold, a process of self-reflection and spontaneous learning occurs for the researchers themselves. This kind of plasticity and flexibility is the strength of design as a research approach. However, modern methodology is still dominated by positivist ideas about research as a planned and systematic process. The authors of the article draw attention to a certain gap between actual research practice and the requirements for scientific reporting. They propose twelve research strategies aimed at embracing emergence in the field of practice-based design research. In this approach, rather than seeing changes as deviations from the project's goals, they can be seen as enriching and expanding the research program. However, uncontrolled emergence can also lead to endless deviation from achieving the required goal, just as rigid adherence to a plan leads to missed opportunities. The authors call for finding a balance between intentional (planned) and emergent (sensitive to unpredictability) modes of research – this means combining a sense of purpose with an openness to change.


Key words: methodology, emergence, design practice, design research, research through design


For citation: Guseltseva, M.S. (2024). Review of the William Gaver’s et al. article “Emergence as a Feature of Practice-based Design Research” (2022). New Psychological Research, No. 2, 184–197. DOI: 10.51217/npsyresearch_2024_04_02_09



The article was prepared within a state task, project FNRE-2024-0016.


Keywords: methodology  emergence design practice design research research through design

Received: 18th june 2024

Published: 18th june 2024

Download PDF