The Investigate phase of the Design Cycle is is the one that takes the most research.
You should:

Identify the Problem.
Re-Write the task you have been asked to do in your own words.

Examine the problem in terms of AOI. by demonstrating your understanding of how the AOI relates to the design problem.
What is the 'big picture'?

Write guiding questions to help you decide what you need to find out.

What is the need? Is there a problem that needs solving? What is the purpose for this design task?

Write a Design Brief.(A general statement of what you are going to make, why you are going to make it and who it is for.)

Develop the Design BriefYou need to research into the task and how you can solve it. You could do this by any combination of:
Product Analysis
Looking at similar products for inspiration.
  • How did others solve this problem?
  • Analysis should include; materials used, ergonomics, aesthetics, form and function and what design idea could you perhaps use
Research into materials
What materials are best to use?
  • Why? What are the properties?
  • What materials are available?
Research into construction techniques
How can you make it?
  • What skills do you need to know?
  • What tools do you need.
(Xmind, Bubble.us , MindNode or hand drawn)
  • A thinking tools to help decide things like; themes, needs, likes/dislikes
  • Spider diagrams
  • Mood boards
Surveys & Questionnaires
Who is this for? (Demographic)
  • What do other people think/like/want?

Investigate Rubric here


Here are some examples of student work.They may look slightly different from how we do things at DC, but they can give you a good idea of what is expected.
They have not necessarily achieved the highest level but the level achieved has been included when available.
Please click on the project name to read the background for each example so that you understand more about what each student was attempting.

'Junk' Project

This work achieved level 3 because the student:
  • describes the problem
  • investigates the problem by selecting information from some appropriate, acknowledged sources
  • acknowledges all sources even though they are not compiled in a bibliography.
The student would have achieved a higher level if she had analyzed the information collected and described a test to evaluate the product against the design specification.

Steady Hand Game Project

This work achieved level 5 because the student:
  • thoroughly defines the problem and discusses its relevance
  • shows strong signs of critical analysis
  • uses and analyses a broad range of acknowledged sources, including an interview with an electronic engineer and past student work as sources of information; the complete bibliography is not included but consists of more than 50 appropriately acknowledged sources.
The student would have achieved a higher level if he had described in detail methods of product testing to evaluate his product against the design specification.

Battery-operated Lighting Unit Project

This work achieved level 4 because the student:
  • defines the problem, discussing its relevance
  • investigates the problem from acknowledged sources
  • mentions how the product will be tested.
The student would have achieved a higher level if she had described in detail her method of testing to evaluate the product against the design specification, and if she had used a broader range of acknowledged sources (only three were used).

Ask an expertInterview your intended user Bibliography (All your research needs to be referenced)* Books, Websites, people, etc

Formulate a Design Specification
A list of requirements that your design should have.
  • Select the most important information from your research
  • Describe how you could test your design.

Freeware Project

This work achieved level 5 because the student:
  • has a detailed and relevant design brief
  • explains the problem in detail and includes well-analysed research on the best open source software to use as well as the best way to create a tutorial
  • has a valid design specification which come directly from the critical review of research surrounding the problem, and describes some methods for final testing of the product
  • discusses the relevance of the problem to be solved mentioning the relevant areas of interaction.
  • The student would have achieved a higher level if he had:
  • described detailed methods of testing

external image favicon.ico[[image:data:image/x-icon;base64,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%3D%3D link="@http://search.surfcanyon.com/search?f=nrl1&q=Investigate%20Rubric%20here&partner=fastestfox"]]external image favicon.ico[[image:data:image/png;base64,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 link="@http://www.google.com/search?hl=com&btnI=I%27m+Feeling+Lucky&q=Investigate%20Rubric%20here+wikipedia"]]