Artificial Intelligence for Engineering Design, Analysis and Manufacturing vol:24 issue:3 pages:357-366
When developing a better understanding of the design process there are several possible
approaches to choose from. Many studies are based on novice designers (e.g., students) or
designers of relatively modest talents. By contrast, some studies have probed into the minds of
designers who are considered to have outstanding and exceptional ability, in order to gain
knowledge of design at the highest level that it is practiced.
The study reported here adopts yet another approach by exploring how design
processes are perceived by design educators. The approach is motivated by the observation
that teaching design requires consciously distilling the essence of the design process for the
students, observing students during their design process and guiding them through the
process. As a result, design teachers tend to develop a more articulate view of design
processes than most other designers do.
Nineteen design teachers are interviewed using general interview topics as focused
discussion points. This approach differs from more controlled approaches (e.g., protocol
analysis) in that it accepts that the data obtained are largely driven by negotiation between the
researcher(s) and the participants. Such an approach is invaluable when engaging in an
investigation that explores more abstract research questions such as the notion of design
processes. The resulting data illustrate that design processes are understood and interpreted differently by different teachers. These data and subsequent results are rich narratives about designing and design teaching providing an extension of our understanding of the design process and the different ways that it is interpreted and perceived.