Figure 4 - Number of results, with number of ‘in scope’ articles.


The primary goal of the network was to deliver a picture of the extent and state of the art of design practice and theory in health. This next section will describe the three concurrent activities we undertook to achieve this. These three activities combined to provide a literature review of outputs in the public domain.

The first approach was to undertake a Library Database Review. This review was devised as if a ‘health outsider’ to the design world was using a standard method of performing an initial enquiry-a (rigorous) keyword search to a prominent database indexing a large number of journals.

Secondly an Expert Network Review was used to understand where the gaps in the literature might be; and drawing on the expertise of the practitioners in the network to identify projects.

Finally, the review and network were supported by a purposive Grey Literature review (unpublished works), using a combination of a Google search and papers from key conferences in the subject area.

The outputs of these three processes were 1912 abstracts or summaries of unpublished works, which had to be screened to determine if the abstracts were in scope. For the purposes of this project we defined the scope as:

“The paper or output describes a design process taking place in a health or social care context”

Of the 1912 abstracts the team determined 439 to be in scope. These 439 were subsequently coded by members of the project team and expert network into a range of themes and categories determined by a participatory process.

Full descriptions of the codes are provided in the results chapter.

The rest of this section provides a detailed description of the methods applied for each of these strategies.