Design Science

The National Center for Border Security and Immigration (BORDERS) utilizes a design-science research approach. The design-science research approach consists of building systems and theories based on scientific data to solve real-world problems. It seeks to extend the boundaries of human and organizational capabilities by creating new and innovative systems, constructs, models, methods, or instantiations. Using the design science approach, knowledge and understanding of a problem domain and its solution are achieved in the building and application of these innovations [1].

Examples of design science research at BORDERS include:

  • GroupSystems to aid group collaboration
  • Embodied conversational agents to automate rapid screening
  • The Structured Programming for Linguistic Cue Extraction (SPLICE) tool for linguistic analysis
  • Sensor networks (eye tracking, kinesic, vocalic, and linguistic sensors)  for deception detection


As outlined by Hevner and colleagues [1], the design-science approach can be summarized in the following seven guidelines:

Guideline 1: Produce a viable innovation such as a construct, model, method, system or product.

Guideline 2: Develop technology-based solutions to important and relevant real-world problems.

Guideline 3: Use rigorous evaluation methods for the design.

Guideline 4: Provide clear and verifiable research contributions.

Guideline 5: Utilize rigorous methods in both the construction and evaluation of the innovation.

Guideline 6: Rely on available means to reach a desired outcome while satisfying laws in the problem environment.

Guideline 7: Disseminate knowledge to both academic and practitioner communities.

Works cited:

[1] Hevner, A. R., March, S. T., Park, J., & Ram, S. (2004). Design science in information systems research. MIS Quarterly, 28(1), 75–105.