Empirical Research In Engineering Design

Saeema Ahmed

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Increasingly engineering design research involves the use of empirical studies that are conducted within an industrial environment [Ahmed, 2001; Court 1995; Hales 1987]. Research into the use of information by designers or understanding how engineers build up experience are examples of research areas that often use methods such as interviews, observations and protocol analyses. These methods are traditionally associated with the social sciences and usually with experiments set within a laboratory environment. The use of such methods in an industrial environment has created a new set of research issues. This paper describes case studies of empirical research carried out within industry in engineering design focusing upon information, knowledge and experience in engineering design. The paper describes the research methods employed, their suitability for the particular research aims, the advantages and disadvantages of the methods and describes two case studies in detail. The paper draws conclusions from the studies reviewed about the use of empirical research methods in industry.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Design Research
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)359-380
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • Empirical studies
  • Observation
  • Engineering design


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