Designing design prompts: a systematic approach to support engineering design research
by Maria Vittoria Elena; Apurva Patel; Joshua D. Summers
J. of Design Research (JDR), Vol. 18, No. 5/6, 2020

Abstract: Experiments that study engineering design rely on participants responding to design prompts (problem statements). Moreover, researchers test multiple variables with small participant pools. In such situations multiple design prompts may be used to boost replication by giving each participant an equivalent problem with a different experimental condition. This paper presents a systematic approach to compare given design prompts using a two-step process that allows an initial comparison of the prompts and a post-experiment verification of the similarity of the given prompts. Comparison metrics are provided which can be used to evaluate a level of similarity of existing prompts as well as develop similar problems. These metrics include complexity (size, coupling, and solvability), familiarity, and prompt structure. Statistical methods are discussed for post-experiment verification. Guidelines are provided for a post-experiment survey. The proposed approach is demonstrated through an experiment where two design prompts were used for within-subject replication.

Online publication date: Tue, 02-Nov-2021

The full text of this article is only available to individual subscribers or to users at subscribing institutions.

Existing subscribers:
Go to Inderscience Online Journals to access the Full Text of this article.

Pay per view:
If you are not a subscriber and you just want to read the full contents of this article, buy online access here.

Complimentary Subscribers, Editors or Members of the Editorial Board of the J. of Design Research (JDR):
Login with your Inderscience username and password:

    Username:        Password:         

Forgotten your password?

Want to subscribe?
A subscription gives you complete access to all articles in the current issue, as well as to all articles in the previous three years (where applicable). See our Orders page to subscribe.

If you still need assistance, please email