ERIC Number: ED315041
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1988-Dec
Reference Count: N/A
Motivating the Notion of Generic Design within Information Processing Theory: The Design Problem Space.
Goel, Vinod; Pirolli, Peter
The notion of generic design, while it has been around for 25 years, is not often articulated, especially within Newell and Simon's (1972) Information Processing Theory framework. Design is merely lumped in with other forms of problem solving activity. Intuitively it is felt that there should be a level of description of the phenomenon which refines this broad classification by further distinguishing between design and non-design problem solving. However, Information Processing Theory does not facilitate such problem classification. This paper makes a preliminary attempt to differentiate design problem solving from non-design problem solving by identifying major invariants in the design problem space. Descriptive protocol studies are used to explore the problem spaces of three prototypical design tasks from the disciplines of architecture, mechanical engineering, and instructional design. Eight significant invariants are identified. The paper concludes by drawing some morals for the development of computer-aided design (CAD) systems, noting the limitations in the work, and indicating directions for further research. Diagrams include the structure of a prototypical design task environment, the design problem space, the conceptual structure of the transformation of goals to artifact specifications, and symbol systems used in architectural design. An Office of Naval Research distribution list is appended. (37 references) (Author/GL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Naval Research, Arlington, VA.
Authoring Institution: California Univ., Berkeley. School of Education.