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Problem-solving Strategies and Expertise in Engineering Design.

Ball, Linden J. and Evans, Jonathan St. B. and Dennis, Ian Dennis and Ormerod, Thomas C. (1997) Problem-solving Strategies and Expertise in Engineering Design. Thinking and Reasoning, 3 (4). pp. 247-270. ISSN 1354-6783

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Abstract

A study is reported which focused on the problem-solving strategies employed by expert electronics engineers pursuing a real-world task: integrated-circuit design. Verbal protocol data were analysed so as to reveal aspects of the organisation and sequencing of ongoing design activity. These analyses indicated that the designers were implementing a highly systematic solution-development strategy which deviated only a small degree from a normatively optimal top-down and breadth-first method. Although some of the observed deviation could be described as opportunistic in nature, much of it reflected the rapid depth-first exploration of tentative solution ideas. We argue that switches from a predominantly breadth-first mode of problem solving to depth-first or opportunistic modes may be an important aspect of the expert’s strategic knowledge about how to conduct the design process effectively when faced with difficulties, uncertainties, and design impasses.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Thinking and Reasoning
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: Faculty of Science and Technology > Psychology
ID Code: 10578
Deposited By: Prof Tom Ormerod
Deposited On: 21 Jul 2008 11:06
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2013 10:30
Identification Number:
URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/10578

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