Date of Award

5-2009

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Mechanical Engineering

Advisor

Summers, Joshua D

Committee Member

Fadel , Georges M

Committee Member

Mocko , Gregory M

Committee Member

Ziegert , John C

Committee Member

Thompson , Lonny L

Abstract

A systematic procedure for developing design methods, tools, and/or processes, referred to as meta-method, is proposed. It is hypothesized that design methods developed without following a systematic procedure are not effective and thus are not widely accepted by industry and academia likewise. The systematic framework provided by the meta-method will ensure 1) faster development of design methods, 2) enable tracking of requirements throughout the development process, 3) facilitate efficient exploration and selection of alternatives, 4) document the development process for future reuse, 5) help in testing and validation of design methods, and 6) bridge gap between multiple disciplines by forming a common vocabulary.
The case study research method adopted in this research enables in-depth analysis of design method development in its real life context. Multiple data collection procedures are implemented as part of the case study method to achieve triangulation. A case study protocol is formulated, and is used to minimize variations while conducting studies on `Design by Analogy' and `Requirements modeling' methods. The protocol is tested by conducting a pilot case study on the design exemplar. Observations from these case studies are used to construct a meta-method. The Meta-Method shows that the intuitive process followed by the design method developers in academia is not random or ad-hoc but is similar to a product design process. By keeping the framework similar to the intuitive process followed by developers it is intended to minimize the time taken to learn the Meta-Method. This meta-method is demonstrated on an example problem involving the development of a concept selection method. The demonstrative study indicates significant improvement in the efficiency of the design method development process.
Though it is not within the scope of this research, the meta-method can be enhanced further by creating specific tools at each stage of design method development.

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