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Title: The nature of evolutionary artefact and design process knowledge coupling
Author: Wang, Wenjuan
ISNI:       0000 0004 2675 0053
Awarding Body: University of Strathclyde
Current Institution: University of Strathclyde
Date of Award: 2008
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Artefact and design process knowledge continually evolve during design development and are closely coupled. Considerable research has been conducted on the artefact, design process knowledge, and their inter-relationships. However, they have only focused on general or specific aspects of their coupling. To address this lack of knowledge, the research presented in this thesis has focused on modelling the nature of the coupling of evolutionary artefact and design process knowledge. A triangulation approach was adopted in the research, through which a coupling model was developed based on different methods including literature review, content analysis, and protocol analysis. The model was subsequently evaluated by questionnaire. A basic set of artefact and design process knowledge elements involved in the coupling (22 in all) were identified through literature review and verified by content analysis of eight industrial design documents and protocol analysis of a supervised student design project. They include 11 fundamental and 4 contextual artefact and 5 fundamental and 2 contextual design process knowledge elements. Occurrence trends of these elements over task clarification, conceptual, and embodiment design were revealed through the protocol analysis, which shows that different types of knowledge elements exhibit different trend patterns, such as increasing, decreasing, or relatively stable. The coupling was found to be composed of 6 creation and 15 employment links through the content analysis. The protocol analysis of the coupling links resulted in 18 creation and 15 employment links. The evolved coupling model is derived through combining the results obtained from both the content and protocol analysis, which was found to be composed of 19 creation and 17 employment links between the artefact and design process knowledge elements. The work reported in this thesis was evaluated through questionnaires answered in two workshops by eight practising designers. The evaluation revealed that all of the 22 knowledge elements were considered to occur during design development. Differences were found not only between the results obtained from the analysis and evaluation, but also among the designers. Specifically, it showed that, of the 22 evaluated elements, 2 were viewed as having the same trend as that obtained from the protocol analysis, while 7 were viewed as similar, and 13 were viewed as different. Moreover, the evaluation resulted in 48 creation and 42 employment links. Among them, 9 creation and 12 employment links were also identified from the content and protocol analysis. However, there were still 12 creation and 7 employment links identified from the analyses that were not identified from the evaluation. Possible reasons for these differences were discussed by comparing results from different designers. Finally, strengths and weaknesses are discussed and potential future work to build on the research are identified.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral