Contextualizing the research through multiple channels will be an ongoing process. This critical and analytical activity is aimed at defining the scope of the inquiry, as well as establishing the state of existing and relevant knowledge base to date. (Malins J, Gray C). It also serves to situate the design research in relation to other design researchers in the field. Given the research must be an original contribution to knowledge contextualizing and situating the research is of primary importance. A thorough and sustained contextual review is perhaps the only way to assess whether the research covers the unchartered territory.
The initial literature was more of an onboarding process to the Phd. The review was expansive, skimming the surface of many areas but it lacked focus. It broadly looked to better understand academic research as a field of study, the design discipline, collaboration, facilitation, and improvisation. However, the lack of focus meant the reading lacked purpose. To date I’ve mostly tracked this uncertain process using self-reflection, writing and visualization — these methods helped me to thread my autobiographical story to the field of design research and space to simply chase curiosity.