This resource is written for students, researchers and practitioners whose work sits at the intersection between design and health.

It is built on research undertaken by two design-led research labs, one in the United Kingdom (Lab4Living) and the other in New Zealand (Good Health Design), who have dedicated the last two decades to building an understanding of the role that design research might play in the broader context of health and wellbeing.

Our enquiries have asked a number of questions:

• How can design shape health-care?
• What is the role of design in promoting health?
• What role do design research methods play?
• how does health shape design practice?

Over the last two decades we have recognised that some researchers struggle with how best to articulate their research. Sometimes there is confusion over the difference(s) between what is design and what is design research.

Consequently, there is need to build confidence in design for health research, methods and approaches so that outcomes are better understood and valued.

Some design researchers have taken methods from other disciplines and applied these without due consideration or reflection in the hope that their work will be seen as more valid or credible. In some other contexts, design researchers have not needed to describe their ‘method’ in any detail.

This is particularly problematic in health, which is so focused on evidence-based practice. Without clear articulation of methods and processes, design for health research to other disciplines can be difficult to understand. As such, it may be viewed with suspicion and ultimately (findings and outcomes) not adopted. We have witnessed instances where design researchers have been accused of not being rigorous when, in fact, quite the opposite was true.