Date of Award

12-2010

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Mechanical Engineering

Advisor

Summers, Joshua D

Committee Member

Mocko , Gregory M

Committee Member

Ziegert , John

Abstract

Formulating and solving engineering problems and designing solutions that meet the established requirements are important skills that graduating engineering students need to possess. However, there are noticeable gaps in the literature with respect to understanding how the formulation of design problems and establishment of requirements affect the final design solution. This thesis is an initial attempt to understand the influence of level of detail of problem statement and requirements on the level of detail of final solution. In doing so, a document analysis of final reports from senior design class collected over a period of ten years from 1999 to 2008 is conducted. A coding scheme is developed to systematically organize and compare the information in the final design reports. Further, a data compression approach is developed to allow for the mapping of level of detail of problem statement and requirements to the level of detail of final solution. The findings of this research indicate that a low level of detail problem statement and requirements leads to no greater than a medium level of detail in the final solution. A high level of detail of final solution is more likely to result from either a high or medium level of detail of problem statement and requirements. Additionally, a high level of detail final solution is more likely to result in a high level of percentage requirements met by it. These findings are used to make several recommendations to faculty and students to improve the level of detail of final solution and consequently increase the probability of fulfilling more requirements. This assists in ensuring students possess the skills needed in the professional workforce.

Share

COinS