Analysis of systematic engineering design paradigms in industrial practice: Scaled experiments

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In a forerunner paper (Spitas, C., 2010, Analysis of systematic engineering design paradigms in industrial practice: A survey. Journal of Engineering Design), it was shown that engineering design, as applied in industrial practice, can be characterised in terms of three different paradigms including the abstraction-todetail paradigm mostly associated with systematic design. Further insights into the usage of each paradigm were obtained by means of a survey. However, further study is needed to penetrate into the reasons that make each paradigm unique, and thus uniquely advantageous in different contexts. To this end, the human intellectual process behind systematic design is studied and reduced to four different activities, namely analysis, heuresis, evaluation, and choice. An understanding of these activities helps to explain the properties associated with the different design paradigms and their strengths and weaknesses. This analysis is supported by a set of scaled experiments conducted with volunteers to quantify critical pertinent aspects of the intellectual process. The insight gained by these results, also in consideration of the previous survey results, allows a plausible explanation of the observed discrepancy between the formal systematic design theory and many current design practices in the industry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)447-465
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Engineering Design
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2011



  • Design paradigms
  • Engineering design
  • Industrial practice
  • Intellectual process
  • Systematic design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)

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