Combination of Eye Tracking and Think-Aloud Methods in Engineering Design Research

  • Anne RuckpaulEmail author
  • Thomas Fürstenhöfer
  • Sven Matthiesen


In order to understand the engineers’ behavior while designing it needs to be revealed how the designer perceives function-shape-relations of a technical system. Eye tracking is a adequate method to observe the proceedings of the human analyzing technical systems. However, further information for concluding on the designer’s perception is needed. Well-established methods in order to elicit further implicit and tacit knowledge are think aloud approaches. The combination think-aloud and eye tracking is not yet observed in detail; especially how think-aloud influences the eye movements and which additional data is gained in the context of engineering design research. This paper presents an eye tracking study, which compares two think-aloud methods, concurrent and retrospective think-aloud, in combination with eye tracking. The results show no significant influence on the eye movements. However, the two think-aloud approaches generate differing contents of verbalizations and complement the recorded gaze data with different scopes.


Tacit Knowledge Fixation Duration Technical System Gear Wheel Technical Drawing 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anne Ruckpaul
    • 1
    Email author
  • Thomas Fürstenhöfer
    • 1
  • Sven Matthiesen
    • 1
  1. 1.Karlsruhe Institute of TechnologyKarlsruheGermany

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