Choosing Effective Means Awareness of Bias in the Selection of Methods and Tools

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Designing for socio-technical engineering systems requires that professionals, stakeholders and end-users with diverse perspectives, experiences and expertise co-create in meaningful and goal-directed processes. Such efforts typically require substantial planning, staging, execution and managing, and an important part of that is the careful selection of effective methodology to support these activities. Methodology captures key procedural knowledge that is central to both education and practice. The selection of methods and tools is a critical first step in the process of using methodology and is prone to biases that might influence such decisions for the worse. In this chapter, we provide an overview of the state of the art on the selection of methodological means in engineering systems design and the broader design literature. We do so by focusing on five aspects: i) the method user; ii) method content; iii) method selection; iv) acquisition of new methods; and v) selection aid. To link theory to practice, we review how method selection is aided in 20 online design toolkits. Then, building on a taxonomy of thinking errors and biases in cognitive science, we identify relevant biases in choosing methodological means in engineering system design.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Engineering Systems Design
EditorsA. Maier, J. Oehmen, P.E. Vermaas
Number of pages20
Publication date2022
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Bias
  • Design method
  • Design methodology
  • Engineering systems design
  • Method selection
  • Thinking errors
  • Tools


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