Unit of competency details

BSBDES701A - Research and apply design theory (Release 1)


Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by and equivalent to BSBDES801 - Research and apply design theoryUpdated to meet Standards for Training Packages Code changed to meet updated AQF requirements 2013 24/Mar/2015

Release Status:
ReleaseRelease date
1 1 (this release) 18/Apr/2008

Accredited courses that have this unit in the completion mapping

Training packages that include this unit

CodeTitleSort Table listing Training packages that include this unit by the Title columnRelease
SIH11 - Hairdressing Training PackageHairdressing Training Package 1.0-2.0 
SFL10 - Floristry Training PackageFloristry Training Package 1.0 
MTM11 - Australian Meat Industry Training PackageAustralian Meat Industry Training Package 1.0-4.0 
MEM05 - Metal and Engineering Training PackageMetal and Engineering Training Package 5.0-11.1 
CUV11 - Visual Arts, Crafts and Design Training PackageVisual Arts, Crafts and Design Training Package 1.0 
CUV03 - Visual Arts, Craft and Design Training PackageVisual Arts, Craft and Design Training Package 3.0 
CUE03 - Entertainment Training PackageEntertainment Training Package 3.1-3.2 
CUA - Creative Arts and Culture Training PackageCreative Arts and Culture Training Package 1.0 
BSB07 - Business Services Training PackageBusiness Services Training Package 5.0-9.0 

Qualifications that include this unit

CodeTitleSort Table listing Qualifications that include this unit by the Title columnRelease
SIH80113 - Graduate Certificate in Hairdressing Creative LeadershipGraduate Certificate in Hairdressing Creative Leadership 
SIH70111 - Vocational Graduate Certificate in Hairdressing Creative LeadershipVocational Graduate Certificate in Hairdressing Creative Leadership 
SFL50110 - Diploma of Floristry DesignDiploma of Floristry Design 
MTM80111 - Graduate Diploma of AgribusinessGraduate Diploma of Agribusiness 1-3 
MTM70111 - Graduate Certificate in AgribusinessGraduate Certificate in Agribusiness 1-3 
MEM60211 - Advanced Diploma of Jewellery and Object DesignAdvanced Diploma of Jewellery and Object Design 1-4 
CUV60411 - Advanced Diploma of Graphic DesignAdvanced Diploma of Graphic Design 
CUV60311 - Advanced Diploma of Creative Product DevelopmentAdvanced Diploma of Creative Product Development 
CUV60307 - Advanced Diploma of Creative Product DevelopmentAdvanced Diploma of Creative Product Development 
CUV60211 - Advanced Diploma of Visual ArtsAdvanced Diploma of Visual Arts 
Items per page 10 | 20 | 50 | 100
Displaying items 1 - 10 of 12


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 100501 Graphic Arts And Design Studies 

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 100501 Graphic Arts And Design Studies 25/Jul/2008 
The content being displayed has been produced by a third party, while all attempts have been made to make this content as accessible as possible it cannot be guaranteed. If you are encountering issues following the content on this page please consider downloading the content in its original form

Modification History

Not applicable.

Unit Descriptor

Unit descriptor 

This unit describes the performance outcomes, skills and knowledge required to research and apply different theories of design.

No licensing, legislative, regulatory or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of endorsement.

Application of the Unit

Application of the unit 

This unit applies to individuals who use sophisticated research and critical analysis skills in the exploration of design, design theory and its application to professional design practice.

The scope of the research activity has both significant depth and breadth. A broader, more general approach to the history and theory of design is covered by BSBDES305A Source and apply information on the history and theory of design.

Licensing/Regulatory Information

Not applicable.


Prerequisite units 

Employability Skills Information

Employability skills 

This unit contains employability skills.

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Elements describe the essential outcomes of a unit of competency.

Performance criteria describe the performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element. Where bold italicised text is used, further information is detailed in the required skills and knowledge section and the range statement. Assessment of performance is to be consistent with the evidence guide.

Elements and Performance Criteria



1. Research design theory

1.1. Use a range of research techniques  to source information about design theory

1.2. Identify and explore new , emerging and alternative sources of ideas and thinking  about design

1.3. Expand own knowledge and understanding of design through review and critical analysis  of information

1.4. Analyse, compare and contrast a range of theoretical perspectives and thinking  on design

2. Apply theories of design to professional practice

2.1. Evaluate the relevance and application of different theories of design based on analysis of own professional and personal experience 

2.2. Analyse the ways in which different aspects of history, theory and other influences are applied, adapted or challenged in practice

2.3. Assess the ways in which theories and thinking about design may be applied in ways that provide benefits to individuals , businesses and communities 

3. Develop, articulate and debate own perspectives on theories of design

3.1. Take a critical approach to different theories and reflect on own ideas and responses

3.2. Develop own substantiated positions  in response to research and analysis

3.3. Articulate own positions in a manner which demonstrates clarity of thought and conceptual understanding  of different theories and thinking

3.4. Debate own positions on design showing belief in own and ideas and a willingness to remain open to new perspectives

Required Skills and Knowledge


This section describes the skills and knowledge required for this unit.

Required skills 

  • communication skills to articulate and debate complex concepts
  • critical thinking skills to analyse complex information, and to develop and substantiate own positions and responses to theories and thinking around design
  • literacy skills to research information dealing with complex concepts and theories
  • self-management skills to develop and substantiate own views and ideas.

Required knowledge 

  • different theories of design, including different historical perspectives and current and emerging thinking
  • relationship between theories of design and design in practice (in a particular work or broader social context)
  • relationships, similarities and differences at a conceptual and practical level between the concepts of design, innovation and creativity
  • systemic impacts on design - social, economic, political and environmental.

Evidence Guide


The Evidence Guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge, range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.

Overview of assessment 

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit 

Evidence of the following is essential:

  • research into past, current and emerging theories of design
  • development of substantiated positions on design and its application in response to own analysis and research
  • knowledge of different theories and thinking on design and its application in different social and work contexts.

Context of and specific resources for assessment 

Assessment must ensure:

  • use of current and emerging sources of information and thinking on design.

Method of assessment 

A range of assessment methods should be used to assess practical skills and knowledge. The following examples are appropriate for this unit:

  • direct questioning combined with review of portfolios of evidence and third party workplace reports of on-the-job performance by the candidate
  • evaluation of research undertaken by the candidate into design theory and its application
  • evaluation of candidate's participation in discussion and debate on theories of design

Guidance information for assessment 

The design process does not occur in isolation. Holistic assessment with other units relevant to the industry sector, workplace and job role is recommended.

Range Statement


The range statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised wording, if used in the performance criteria, is detailed below. Essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment (depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts) may also be included.

Research techniques  may include:

  • desk research
  • informal discussions
  • internet
  • interviews
  • literature reviews

New , emerging and alternative sources of ideas and thinking  may include:

  • current business theories
  • government policy
  • individual in any field of endeavour
  • innovative organisations
  • international trends

Critical analysis  may involve:

  • adapting
  • analysing and evaluating actions and policies
  • challenging
  • clarifying issues, values and standards
  • comparing analogous situations
  • comparing and contrasting ideals with practice
  • comparing and evaluating beliefs, interpretations and theories
  • developing criteria for evaluation
  • distinguishing relevant from irrelevant facts
  • examining and evaluating assumptions
  • exploring implications and consequences
  • generating and assessing solutions
  • debating and discussing
  • judging
  • making interdisciplinary connections
  • making plausible inferences and predictions
  • noting significant similarities and differences
  • questioning
  • reading and listening critically
  • reflecting

Theoretical perspectives and thinking  may be:

  • economic
  • environmental
  • historical
  • local, national and international
  • political
  • social/cultural

Own professional and personal experience  may include:

  • evaluation of contexts in which creativity has flourished
  • evaluation of different attitudes to design and the role of designers
  • observations of the ways people interrelate with the design process, of the ways people use and adapt designs in daily life
  • reflection on current political, social and cultural trends
  • reflection on own experience with any type design process
  • workplace experience

Benefits to individuals , businesses and communities  may include:

  • better individual and business relationships
  • capacity for innovation and invention
  • greater social cohesion
  • improved productivity and profit
  • psychological wellbeing of individuals and communities

Substantiated positions  may be positions which are:

  • grounded in appropriate research
  • result of rational and logical thought
  • subjected to the analysis of others
  • supported by relevant information

Clarity of thought and conceptual understanding  may be demonstrated by:

  • ability to exchange and debate ideas with others
  • appropriate distillation of ideas to suit the required purpose
  • audience understanding
  • clear articulation of ideas

Unit Sector(s)

Unit sector 

Competency field

Competency field 

Design - Design Process

Co-requisite units

Co-requisite units