DESIGNER BEHAVIOUR AND ACTIVITY: AN INDUSTRIAL OBSERVATION METHOD
DS 68-2: Proceedings of the 18th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED 11), Impacting Society through Engineering Design, Vol. 2: Design Theory and Research Methodology, Lyngby/Copenhagen, Denmark, 15.-19.08.2011
Editor: Culley, S.J.; Hicks, B.J.; McAloone, T.C.; Howard, T.J. & Reich, Y.
Author: Cash, Philip; Hicks, Ben; Culley, Steve; Salustri, Filippo
Section: Design Theory and Research Methodology
The relationship between laboratory based study and the actual practice of engineering design is very important. For research activity, laboratory based studies have an important role. The problem is the difficulty of relating laboratory to practice, it is thus important to fully understand this relationship. To address this, an observational method is proposed that focuses on characterizing the activities and behaviors of designers in practice. The method has been developed to provide rich context, whilst avoiding information overload. The proposed method is then critically discussed with respect to the issues particularly affecting empirical design research, such as contextualization, validity and repeatability. Finally, the paper highlights the potential importance and impact of the method for developing the relationship between practice and laboratory based experiments.