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Case Study Instrument Development for Studying Collaborative Design

[+] Author Affiliations
Jonathan Osborn, Timothy J. Troy, Gregory Smith, Joshua D. Summers

Clemson University, Clemson, SC

Paper No. DETC2006-99674, pp. 115-125; 11 pages
  • ASME 2006 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 1: 32nd Design Automation Conference, Parts A and B
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, September 10–13, 2006
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division and Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4255-X | eISBN: 0-7918-3784-X
  • Copyright © 2006 by ASME


This paper outlines a research instrument developed to analyze the relationship between communication modes, leadership styles, and team composition. The instrument is a survey that captures this information from collaborative design team members. This information can be correlated with team success, and the productive characteristics can be encouraged in future groups. The survey was distributed and analyzed in small numbers, and first round recommendations and student feedback are gathered. The developed instrument gathers background information on the student, group, and project. The project itself was defined in four stages: Problem Definition, Concept Generation, Concept Selection, and Concept Expansion. The students were asked questions about the team leadership style based on the Vroom-Yetton Model. The students were then asked how often they used various communication modes (verbal, textual, and graphical) when communicating Peer-to-Peer, Peer-to-Group, and Group as a Whole. These questions were repeated for each of the design stages. The instrument was structured and refined in order to analyze the behavior of undergraduate design students. It is intended to provide researchers and educators a tool to evaluate and critique collaborative behavior in order to streamline the design process. However, the survey was formulated broadly enough to be used in an industrial setting with small changes in the format to accommodate more experienced designers. The analysis of the original distribution revealed that the survey should be broken down into four parts corresponding to the four design stages and administered longitudinally.

Copyright © 2006 by ASME



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