Research Papers

An In Situ Study of Analogical Reasoning in Novice and Experienced Design Engineers

[+] Author and Article Information
Saeema Ahmed

Department of Management Engineering, Section of Engineering Design, Technical University of Denmark, Building 404, DK-2800 Lyngby, Denmarksakr@man.dtu.dk

Bo T. Christensen

Center for Creative Encounters, Copenhagen Business School, Porcelaenshaven 7, DK-2000 Frederiksberg, Denmarkbc.marktg@cbs.dk

J. Mech. Des 131(11), 111004 (Oct 07, 2009) (9 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3184693 History: Received July 04, 2008; Revised May 14, 2009; Published October 07, 2009

This paper describes a study to understand the use of analogies by design engineers with different levels of experience in an adaptive design domain. Protocol analyses of 12 design engineers have been analyzed to understand the functions and reasoning of the analogies. The protocols are real-world data from the aerospace industry. The findings indicate a significant difference in both the use of analogies by novices and experienced designers and the reasoning from the analogies. Novices were found to predominantly transfer information related to the geometric properties without explicit reference to relevant design issues or to the appropriateness of applying the analogy, whereas experienced designers tended to use analogies for problem solving and problem identification. Experienced designers were found to use the analogy to reason about the function of a component and the predicted behavior of the component, whereas the novices seem to lack such reasoning processes.

Copyright © 2009 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
Topics: Design , Functions , Engineers
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