Skip to Main Content

Interior Design Program Guide

General purpose guide collecting information and library resources for interior design.

Defining a Research Question or Problem (Picking a Topic)

asking a questionWhile it may feel like an obvious first step, defining the scope and direction of your research is very important! It will determine the direction your programming and research go, the sources you consult, and the eventual outcome of your exploration. 

One Possibility: Ask a Big Question

Often, our research is prompted by a problem we want to solve or a pressing question we want to answer. We use resources to explore potential answers and select the most likely one(s). 

  • How could we improve ___?
  • What would eliminate ___?
  • Has anyone attempted ___?
  • How might ___ work here? 

Another Option: Explore an Industry Trend

One method of getting started is to select an area of interest or emerging trend in the field to explore in greater depth.

Some industry trends include: 

  • Aging in place
  • Antropometry
  • Barrier-free design
  • Biomimicry
  • Business of design
  • Corporate design
  • Environmental behavior
  • Ergonomics
  • Facilities planning
  • Green/sustainable design
  • Healthcare design
  • Historic preservation and restoration
  • Hospitality design
  • Human factors
  • Institutional design
  • Lighting design
  • Modularity/impermanence
  • Museum and exhibit design
  • Residential design
  • Resiliency
  • Retail design
  • Set design
  • Universal design
  • Way-finding methods

List quoted from Botti-Salitsky, R. (2017). Programming & research : Skills and techniques for interior designers (Second ed.).


Other places to explore industry trends: 

Before Moving Forward: Define Your Problem Statement

Before moving forward, it's a good idea to clearly define the question to be answered or the problem to be solved. This defines your scope and helps keep you track in your research. 

Possible questions to consider:

  • What is the problem here?
  • Why is it worth investigating and learning about?
  • What opportunities exist within this problem?
  • Have others tried to solve this problem?
  • What is the scope of the problem? Are there other issues connected to this? 
  • What are the limitations of the problem?

List quoted from Botti-Salitsky, R. (2017). Programming & research : Skills and techniques for interior designers (Second ed.).

Western Technical College

Western Technical College Learning Commons
Student Success Center, Room 201
400 7th Street North
La Crosse, WI 54601
State Relay: 711
EEO Statement

Learn more about Western and the Learning Commons.
The Learning Commons provides library and academic support services on campus and online. The Learning Commons will set you up for success!

Creative Commons License
Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. For details and exceptions, see the Library Copyright Statement.
©2023, Western Technical College

If you are experiencing disability related accessibility issues with any information on this website, please email or call 608-785-9524.