Designing Research is  ......     
Relational and Collaborative  

The Relational and Collaborative principle guides us in holding relationships and collaboration as central in a research/intervention journey. This principle recognizes that we are relational beings -  beings shaped and framed within relationship; developed and evolved under specific contexts.

This principle invites us to focus on responsible and responsive ways of collaborating in research and interventions, bringing the ingredients for ways in which we can engage together with all involved. The relational and collaborative stance of a researcher offers a special resource for inquiry where all participants are invited to bring knowledge, interests, experiences and stories to co-create.

As we engage in relational and collaborative endeavors, there is a shift from researcher-as-expert to the researchers-as-offering-expertise; Another shift is researcher versus subjects toward co-designers and co-participants. This principle invites a reflexive position - a becoming aware of what we might bring into relationship and how this might impact the research/intervention developments.

  1. What does relationality mean to you in research? How might we hold relationships and collaboration in the center of research/interventions?

  2. How might we invite participants to bring knowledge, interests, experiences, and stories to co-create?

  3. How does a shift from researcher-as-expert to researcher-as offering expertise influence research?

Designing Research is ......     

Useful and Generative           

The Useful and Generative principle is about engaging in conversations to create new possibilities and not assuming that the goal of research is simply to “discover” knowledge that may be hidden and waiting to be uncovered. This principle privileges a local view of utility and invites researchers to be responsive to local realities and to support the development of co-creative solutions. From this perspective, participants come together throughout the processes, producing new understandings, new meanings and  therefore generating new possibilities. Ultimately, Useful and Generative is about producing meaningful solutions where we appreciate each system as unique, accept past experiences, and consider and embrace future possibilities.


  1. How can we work to make sure the research/intervention is useful and privileges a local view of utility?

  2. How might research be responsive to local realities?

  3. How might research/intervention produce meaningful solutions, appreciating each system as unique?

Designing Research is ......     

Organic and Dynamic            

The Organic and Dynamic principle emphasizes the research/intervention journey as fluid, dynamic -- a continuous practice that unfolds as people engage. This does not mean we abandon frameworks, but rather that we hold plans lightly and allow for emergence in the system. This principle invites a balance between having an articulated purpose and direction and being flexible and attentive to the process. The path will unfold and encounter twists and turns along the way. It is dynamic in the way that practices are being co-created throughout the entire process, involving researchers and participants, theories and methods. The inquiry is fluid as it deconstructs and reconstructs meaning – and therefore realities. Curiosity plays an important role, bringing a sense of wonder, openness and exploration that can expand conversations and generate new understandings with others. To adopt a curious stance is not about giving up our beliefs and approaches, but implies an appreciation and welcoming of other perspectives and creates spaces for new conversations, new possibilities, and therefore new actions.

  1. How might we embrace a fluid & dynamic research/intervention journey?
  2. How would a framework of purpose and direction be balanced with holding plans lightly with flexibility and attentiveness to the process?
  3. How might we bring curiosity, wonder, openness, and exploration into research?

Designing Research is ......     

Engaging Complexity and Multiplicity            

The principle of Engaging Complexity and Multiplicity is an invitation to engage into the complexity of a topic and to embrace the multiplicity of voices and elements in a system that will become rich soil for understanding and for action. This principle calls the attention of the researcher/practitioner to avoid causal or dualistic positions. Different theories and voices are seen as possible resources to expand and create richer understandings, new knowledge and meaning, and generate new possibilities. Embracing Complexity and Multiplicity with a relational sensibility is about considering and appreciating the many different voices involved and welcoming other opinions and points of view to multiply new possibilities on the topic being investigated. Within this approach researchers are mindful about how people are supported and empowered to participate, and actively ask questions such as, “Whose voices are privileged?” and “Whose voices are left out?”. This principle  brings light into the complexity and multiplicity in interactions between and among people in a specific space and time finding out relatedness and interconnections in a system, enriching therefore possibilities of change.

  1. How might research/intervention engage complexity and multiplicity as rich new soil for action?
  2. How might our research/intervention involve a whole system? How are people supported and empowered to participate?
  3. How might we explore patterns, relatedness, and interconnections that enrich possibilities?