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Current Research Project:

Ethics and Digital Design: Gaps and Interventions

With the Open University Design Group (Faculty of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Innovation, and Maths)

Project Overview:

My PhD research critically examines ethics within digital design practice to locate ethics in design practice. Initiated in October 2022 with a projected completion deadline in 2028, this project seeks to contribute to the growing body of knowledge surrounding ethical considerations in design.

Progress to Date:

Chapter 1: Introduction

  • Developed an introductory chapter outlining the rationale for the research, its relevance, and significance within the field of digital design.

  • Articulated the research objectives and identified the contribution to knowledge this study aims to make.

Literature Review:

  • Conducted a comprehensive thematic analysis of the discourse surrounding design ethics in academia.

  • Identified and synthesised key themes emerging from the literature, providing insights into current trends, gaps, and opportunities for future research.

Methodology Design:

  • Defined the methodological approach for the empirical research phase.

  • Designed a structured framework for conducting empirical studies comprising three distinct stages:

    • Stage 1: Surveys

    • Stage 2: Experimentation

    • Stage 3: Action Research and Validation


Next Steps:

Moving forward, the project will focus on the execution of the planned empirical research, spanning a period of 4-6 years. Each stage of the research process will be meticulously implemented, with the overarching goal of advancing our understanding of ethics in digital design and proposing interventions to address identified gaps in practice.

Significance: By locating ethics within the context of digital design practice, this research aims to contribute valuable insights that can inform ethical decision-making processes and foster responsible design practices. Ultimately, the findings of this study have the potential to positively impact the digital design industry and promote ethical considerations as integral components of design education and professional practice.


Embarking on a PhD journey has been a remarkable experience, albeit filled with its fair share of challenges. The initial year was a steep learning curve, going to many webinars and lectures to learn what I could about academic writing, methodologies, empirical studies, etc. I had to navigate through various research avenues to pinpoint the precise area of inquiry for my study. Along the way, I encountered numerous false paths and unexpected detours, each offering valuable lessons and insights into the research process.

Undoubtedly, the PhD journey can often feel solitary, with many hours spent immersed in literature reviews, methodological considerations, and empirical research. However, the support of peers, particularly my study-buddy Rachel Wood, has been instrumental in providing encouragement and guidance throughout this journey. Their insights and shared experiences have not only enriched my own learning but also provided a sense of community and belonging within the academic landscape.

Despite the inherent challenges, the journey thus far has been immensely rewarding, offering opportunities for personal and intellectual growth. As I continue to navigate the complexities of doctoral research, I am grateful for the invaluable support network that has accompanied me along the way, and I look forward to the continued exploration and contribution to knowledge within the field of ethics in digital design.

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