A Three Cycle View of Design Science Research


As a commentary to Juhani Iivari’s insightful essay, I briefly analyze design science research as an embodiment of three closely related cycles of activities. The Relevance Cycle inputs requirements from the contextual environment into the research and introduces the research artifacts into environmental field testing. The Rigor Cycle provides grounding theories and methods along with domain experience and expertise from the foundations knowledge base into the research and adds the new knowledge generated by the research to the growing knowledge base. The central Design Cycle supports a tighter loop of research activity for the construction and evaluation of design artifacts and processes. The recognition of these three cycles in a research project clearly positions and differentiates design science from other research paradigms. The commentary concludes with a claim to the pragmatic nature of design science.

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