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Dear Charles
Depending on what you mean by research, abduction occurs in the very hypothesizing moment when one arrives at an educated guess, say in science or scintiic research, and the hypothess is then corroborated against test cases. Abduction was in the  late middle ages called ascending induction. I have read the pieces by Cross and Kolko where they discussabduction but only very briefly, and without further analysing abduction for us. The people who are really unpacking abduction n the current are semiotic scholars, people like Susan Petrilli, John Deely and Gunther Kress, and the earlier post before mine pointing to Pierce would I think be on the right track.  One line of study is to grasp abduction as the semiosis of sign systems.  Abduction occurs when an interpretant enables a sign to point to, relate with, relay onwards to, the signified. So perhaps it is the interpretant that is mst interesting to look at. How can, and for what purpose, can we increase our store of interpretants, which account for the creative abductive semiosis from a representamen to the signified, etc. Also in the semiosis of new ideas or meanings, are there ethically relevant interpretants that should guide our intentional semiosis?  If design theory is to go anywhere with this lead of yours relating design and abduction, then i think as design theorsts we must work closely with scholars in semiotics. 
Jude
National Institute of Education (Singapore) http://www.nie.edu.sg

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