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Research Papers: Design Theory and Methodology

An Exploratory Study of the Discovery and Selection of Design Methods in Practice

[+] Author and Article Information
Kilian Gericke

Mem. ASME
Engineering Design and Methodology,
University of Luxembourg,
6, rue Richard Coudenhove Kalergi,
Luxembourg City L-1359, Luxembourg
e-mail: kilian.gericke@uni.lu

Julia Kramer

Berkeley Institute of Design,
University of California, Berkeley,
354/360 Hearst Memorial Mining Building,
Berkeley, CA 94720-1760
e-mail: j.kramer@berkeley.edu

Celeste Roschuni

Berkeley Institute of Design,
University of California, Berkeley,
230 Hesse Hall,
Berkeley, CA 94720-1760
e-mail: celery@berkeley.edu

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Design Theory and Methodology Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MECHANICAL DESIGN. Manuscript received January 28, 2016; final manuscript received June 18, 2016; published online August 30, 2016. Assoc. Editor: Mathew I. Campbell.

J. Mech. Des 138(10), 101109 (Aug 30, 2016) (10 pages) Paper No: MD-16-1081; doi: 10.1115/1.4034088 History: Received January 28, 2016; Revised June 18, 2016

This work seeks to understand how design practitioners discover, select, and adapt design methods and methodologies. Design methods and methodologies are mainly used for educational purposes and are not formally transferred into design practice and industry. This prevents design practitioners from accessing the rich body of research and knowledge posed by academia. Various web platforms and textbooks allow users to discover or search for design methods, but little support is provided to assess whether or not a method is appropriate for the context or the task at hand. In this exploratory study, interviews were conducted with practicing engineers and designers. Interview responses were coded and analyzed in an effort to understand the patterns in searching, selecting, assessing, and exchanging experiences with peers in professional practice. This analysis showed that interviewees would like to search for design methods based on their desired outcomes. Additionally, interviewees considered their personal contacts to be the most valuable source of new methods. These insights show that web-based communities of practice may be a potential link between academia and industry, but existing web repositories and communities require further development in order to better meet the needs of the design practitioner community.

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Transfer of knowledge between academia and industry

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