Title: Competencies required to undertake empirical engineering design research

Authors: Marco Aurisicchio, Ken Wallace

Addresses: Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK. ' Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK

Abstract: Industrial organisations increasingly rely on empirical research projects to develop a better understanding of their processes. If the aim of a research project is to identify the fundamental factors influencing the design process, then a detailed study of that process is necessary. Several studies have been undertaken in academic environments to study either natural or controlled design processes. Undertaking detailed studies in industry is challenging and poses several research issues. A review of engineering design literature showed that little has been published on the competencies required by researchers carrying out such empirical studies, as well as on the characteristics of participants. This paper identifies and discusses key competencies and characteristics, based on the literature and the experience gained by the authors during a detailed research project, in collaboration with the aerospace group of a major power systems company.

Keywords: aerospace design; design process; diary study; ethnography; observations; shadowing; participant characteristics; researcher competencies; engineering design; empirical research.

DOI: 10.1504/JDR.2007.016390

Journal of Design Research, 2007 Vol.6 No.3, pp.381 - 399

Published online: 23 Dec 2007 *

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