50 Years of Design Research









Schön’s Legacy: Examining Contemporary Citation Practices in DRS Publications

Jordan Beck, Laureline Chiapello 

Indiana University Bloomington, Université de Montréal


Keywords: citation analysis; citation function; Donald Schön; scholarly publishing


Donald Schön was one of the most influential scholars in the design field; his work was and still is among the most highly cited. But how and why do scholars cite Schön’s work? What do these citations do? In this paper, we present a content analysis of 63 texts published at the last two DRS conferences in an effort to understand the function of citations of Donald Schön’s work. We find scholars primarily cite Schön’s work either to support their own research topics, methods or methodologies, and arguments or to credit Schön for his concepts or ideas. And we observe few instances of citations that engage critically with Schön or build on his ideas. Our conclusions suggest that a deeper understanding of citation function would be an interesting and important project. 

This paper is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International licence.

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Cite this paper: Beck, J. and Chiapello, L. (2016). Schön’s Legacy: Examining Contemporary Citation Practices in DRS Publications. Proceedings of DRS 2016, Design Research Society 50th Anniversary Conference. Brighton, UK, 27–30 June 2016.

This paper will be presented at DRS2016, find it in the conference programme

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