Using Corpus Linguistics to Analyse how Design Research Frames ‘Design Thinking’

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Academic research communities create knowledge which helps them to claim authority over their investigative domain. The knowledge is not necessary objectively true—often it is skewed to help communities to claim legitimacy. This paper investigates how the design research community frames ‘Design Thinking’, a key concept in design research. Existing literature identifies skewed methods which the community uses when framing Design Thinking. The literature suggests that creating an artificial separation between the ways that designers and scientists think helps the community to claim knowledge on Design Thinking. To further investigate how the community creates knowledge, this paper subjects abstracts from peer-reviewed journal papers which focus on Design Thinking to empirical analysis using Corpus Linguistics methods. The study suggests that use of ‘nominals’ and the creation of ‘meta-knowledge’ helps researchers to claim authority on Design Thinking. These practices appear however to perpetuate an artificial separation between Design Thinking and other design domains.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAcademy for Design Innovation Management Conference
Publisher Academy for Design Innovation Management
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 4 Nov 2019
EventThe Academy for Design Innovation Management 2019 - London, United Kingdom
Duration: 18 Jun 201921 Jun 2019

Publication series

ISSN (Electronic)2632-0045


ConferenceThe Academy for Design Innovation Management 2019
Abbreviated titleADIM2019
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom

Bibliographical note

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-
NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.


  • Design Thinking
  • Corpus Linguistics
  • Ways of Speaking
  • Discourse Communities
  • Discourse


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