Synthesizing a Solution Space for Prescriptive Design Knowledge Codification
Keywords:Design Science, Design Knowledge, Prescriptive Statements, Codification.
One of Design Science Research’s (DSR) principal purposes is to generate and codify design knowledge. Codification in DSR is done by providing clear chunks of prescriptive
knowledge that guide the design of future solutions, including instructions on how to design (parts of) artifacts. Although various codification mechanisms have emerged over the
last years, design principles are among the most prominent mechanisms. Yet, distinguishing
between different codification mechanisms is often blurry, hindering designers from making informed decisions regarding appropriate mechanisms for their research aim and leveraging the full potential of the prescriptive knowledge. We seek to bridge the challenge of
selecting from the fuzzy array of codification mechanisms by proposing an inductively generated solution space. We provide a taxonomy to organize essential elements of prescriptive knowledge based on an analysis of design-oriented literature in four meta-dimensions
(i.e., communication, application, development, and justification). These meta-dimensions
make transparent how codified prescriptive design knowledge works. Overall, the taxonomy guides designers in reflecting on and selecting from the set of suitable elements for
their statements. Also, providing a synthesis of options for codifying prescriptive design
knowledge will simplify the identification and advance the positioning of DSR contributions.