Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Mechanical Engineering

Committee Member

Dr. Joshua Summers, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Georges Fadel, Committee Member

Committee Member

Dr. Oliver Myers, Committee Member


This research compares how practicing engineers and designers collaborate inindustry work on design projects as compared to how academic textbooks teach design.Information from design literature textbooks was compared with in-person and over-the-phone interviews from practicing engineers and designers in industry. A case study wasconducted through interviews, which allow for live interactions between the researcherand the interviewees to retrieve targeted information specific to the collaborative designresearch that may be more difficult to attain in written documents. A total of teninterviewees volunteered from three companies to participate in an interview related todesign projects, processes, tools, and meetings. Interviews were then deconstructed toquantify results based on specific topics discussed, such as, informal and formalmeetings, and collaborative tools used throughout a project. This research gives insightinto how, when, and why the interviewees typically design at the three interviewedcompanies. Results show that only one of the interviewees mentioned the benefits of adesign tool but did not apply it during their projects. This contradicts what textbookssuggest by using design tools as the means from which to collaborate. Additionally, thepurpose of collaborative design from the perspective of the interviewees is also discussedthrough the use of formal and informal meetings. According to the interviewees, eachmeeting type employs a different set of needs when used in the design process.Additional research questions are provided to continue research into the design practicesof additional companies and what resources academia can provide for individualdesigners.



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