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Research Papers

Case Study Research Using Senior Design Projects: An Example Application

[+] Author and Article Information
Jonathan R. A. Maier

General Engineering Program, 105 Holtzendorff Hall, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634-0902jmaier@clemson.edu

Timothy Troy

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Clemson Engineering Design Applications and Research (CEDAR) Laboratory, Clemson University, 250 Fluor Daniel Building, Clemson, SC 29634-0921ttroy@clemson.edu

P. Jud Johnston

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Clemson Engineering Design Applications and Research (CEDAR) Laboratory, Clemson University, 250 Fluor Daniel Building, Clemson, SC 29634-0921jud.johnston@gmail.com

Vedik Bobba

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Clemson Engineering Design Applications and Research (CEDAR) Laboratory, Clemson University, 250 Fluor Daniel Building, Clemson, SC 29634-0921vedikb@clemson.edu

Joshua D. Summers1

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Clemson Engineering Design Applications and Research (CEDAR) Laboratory, Clemson University, 250 Fluor Daniel Building, Clemson, SC 29634-0921jsummer@clemson.edu

1

Corresponding author.

J. Mech. Des 132(11), 111011 (Nov 15, 2010) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4002291 History: Received October 28, 2008; Revised March 29, 2010; Published November 15, 2010; Online November 15, 2010

Case study research in engineering design, while not as formalized and accepted as in the social sciences, is growing in popularity because of its ability to yield significant insights into how designers interact with design problems, processes, artifacts, and each other. A wealth of evidence for use in case studies exists in the form of undergraduate senior design courses, which produce documentation related to the design of new artifacts every academic semester. The resulting documentation can be effectively mined to test hypotheses about design processes and designer behaviors. In this paper, we offer an example application of how to apply case study research to a completed senior design project in order to test a theory for how designers, users, and artifacts behave as a complex adaptive system. The evidence from the case study supports the descriptive power of the theoretical framework and supports the practical conclusion that effective communication between designers and users is particularly important and should be strengthened to foster overall project success, especially during the problem definition stage of design.

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Copyright © 2010 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
Topics: Design , Teams , Project tasks
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Figures

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Figure 5

DAU system during concept generation

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Figure 6

DAU system after contact

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Figure 7

DAU system during concept selection

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Figure 8

DAU system during detail design

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Figure 1

Generic DAU system

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Figure 2

Fixture, pillar, and striker plate (a) pillar without striker plate, (b) pillar with striker plate, and (c) pillar with fixture holding striker plate

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Figure 3

DAU system during early problem definition

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Figure 4

DAU system during the later stages of problem definition

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