Design argument and ability to recognize complex systems (Rittel & Webber, 1973) and find a way to modify them, has led other disciplines to try to understand design process and apply it to other areas of knowledge. Creative solutions and ability to innovate (Verganti, 2009) have made design a valuable resource on the contemporary economy. Nevertheless, there is still a polemic about the meaning and model of the process of academic research in the field of design (Muratovski, 2015), the ways in which design research should be conducted and the specific knowledge that is produced with the design research process.
This paper tries to recognize the prototype as a basic element of the process of design, since is connected to a specific type of knowledge and based on that; it also proposes a model of the
use of prototypes as a research tool based on four different theoretical concepts which importance in the field of design have been strongly stablished by different academic communities around the world.