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Protocol Analysis: Studying Physical Manipulatives During Conceptual Design

[+] Author Affiliations
Tim Hess, Joshua D. Summers

Clemson University, Clemson, SC

Paper No. DETC2014-34183, pp. V007T07A031; 13 pages
  • ASME 2014 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 7: 2nd Biennial International Conference on Dynamics for Design; 26th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology
  • Buffalo, New York, USA, August 17–20, 2014
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4640-7
  • Copyright © 2014 by ASME


This paper presents a protocol study that explores how individual designers interact with physical elements during mechanical concept ideation and exploration. This protocol study follows three participants individually in a controlled environment as they develop solutions to a presented problem. The goals of this work were 1) to develop a protocol for documenting human interactions with artifacts and 2) to use this protocol to investigate the use of prototypes during conceptual design. The protocol was used to document the actions of study participants in a manner that allowed searching for patterns of behavior. The most common patterns indicated that participants were learning or finding inspiration from the physical artifact interactions that were then applied to their design solutions. In addition, several opportunities for protocol and experimental methods improvements are presented.

Copyright © 2014 by ASME



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