Design thinking and info lit

Fullerton Public Library's teen area active room
By Shirley Ku (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Braun (2016, p. 80) outlines some common steps in the design process, whatever the particular model:

  1. Identify a problem to be solved.
  2. Learn more about the problem.
  3. Think of possible solutions.
  4. Develop a prototype solution.
  5. Test the prototype.
  6. Refine the prototype and retest.

These steps speak to the Research as Inquiry frame from the Information Literacy Framework (Association of College & Research Libraries, 2015).

In fact this frame specifically mentions formulating “questions for research” (ACRL, 2015).  Doesn’t this point echo step 1 above?

Step 2 implies additional research.  The frame speaks of a “series of investigations,” not a single investigation (ACRL, 2015).

The frame includes the synthesis of multiple ideas (ACRL, 2015).  So does step 3.

We can consider the development and use of a prototype–steps 4 and 5–as action.  The frame describes research as a basis for action (ACRL, 2015).

Neither research nor design end with one iteration.  Both the frame and step 6 make this point.

Braun’s piece applies the design process to youth programming.  Design applies to college-level research as well.


Association of College & Research Libraries. (2015).  Framework for information literacy for higher education.

Retrieved from ACRL website:

Braun, L. W. (2016). Using design thinking. American Libraries, 47(6), 80. Retrieved from


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