Efforts on Capturing Prototyping and Design Activity in Engineering Design Research
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionProcedia CIRP. 2019, 84 556-571. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.procir.2019.04.303
Prototyping is one of the core activities of product development, and understanding prototyping should therefore be of great interest to both researchers and professionals. Yet, when considering the many definitions of prototype in engineering design literature, prototyping is not fully understood. Aimed at engineering design researchers, this article compares various efforts that attempt to understand prototyping by capturing design activity. This comparison is used as a basis for discussing various methods, tools and resources available to the engineering design researcher, as well as the contexts of the studies (i.e. laboratory, intermediate and in-situ studies). From this comparison of studies on capturing prototyping in engineering design research, the authors identify that many of the studies have relatively low robustness—i.e. the ability to generalize and apply the findings to a wider engineering design context. The authors argue that the factors that contribute to the relatively low robustness of these studies are a combination of the methods, tools and resources (including participants) available to the researchers for both capturing and analyzing the data. Therefore, the authors conclude that to increase the robustness of research on prototyping in engineering design—i.e. ensure that relevant, realistic and representative data is captured—more suitable tools and methods are needed.