Whilst strategies for co-producing research in architecture are widely debated, the practical complexities and effects of engaging with, discussing and observing ‘designers’ at work are rarely reported. The purpose of this paper is to examine the ‘emotive’ challenges that arise when engaging with different architecture firms in the process of research. The analysis draws on a recent study of four large UK firms’ adoption of new energy modelling technologies within their design practice. Participants included 26 project architects, design directors, architectural technologists and architect assistants based in firms in London, Bristol, Bath and Manchester. Preliminary findings indicate the role emotion, anger and fear can have on ways designers engage as well as reasons they contribute to discussions within research.