The ends or the means? Understanding how students use causal and effectual information during design activities

Ammar Abid, Wenyu Shi, Christine A. Toh

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although prior research has shown that information utilized during conceptual design plays a vital role in product success, there is no comprehensive framework for characterizing the types of knowledge used by designers, or the impact of information types on the development of successful ideas. As part of an ongoing effort to develop a Typological Framework of Design Information, this study focuses on understanding the impact of design reasoning using one dimension of information, effectual or causal information. Effectual reasoning refers to setting goals that are driven by the availability of resources that are available to the designer, which is in contrast with causal reasoning, which relies taking actions to achieve a predetermined goal by any means necessary. Since research on effectual and causal information in engineering design is relatively sparse, a controlled pilot study was conducted where students interacted with a web interface and addressed a design problem. Detailed observations of participants' interactions with the design information and the creativity of design outcomes was investigated. These findings provide insights into the role that effectual information plays in design reasoning and contribute to an emerging Typological Framework of Design Information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication30th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology
PublisherAmerican Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
ISBN (Electronic)9780791851845
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018
EventASME 2018 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, IDETC/CIE 2018 - Quebec City, Canada
Duration: Aug 26 2018Aug 29 2018

Publication series

NameProceedings of the ASME Design Engineering Technical Conference
Volume7

Other

OtherASME 2018 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, IDETC/CIE 2018
CountryCanada
CityQuebec City
Period8/26/188/29/18

Keywords

  • Conceptual design
  • Design decision-making
  • Design process
  • Education
  • Students

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Modeling and Simulation

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    Abid, A., Shi, W., & Toh, C. A. (2018). The ends or the means? Understanding how students use causal and effectual information during design activities. In 30th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology (Proceedings of the ASME Design Engineering Technical Conference; Vol. 7). American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). https://doi.org/10.1115/DETC2018-86065