Quantifying Coherent Thinking in Design: A Computational Linguistics Approach
Design team conversations reveal their thinking patterns and behaviour because participants must communicate their thoughts to others through verbal communication. This article describes a method based on latent semantic analysis for measuring the coherence of their communication in a conversation mode and how this measurement also reveals patterns of interrelations between an individual’s ideas and the group’s ideas. While similar studies have been done on design documentation, it was unclear whether computational techniques that have been applied to communication in text could be successfully applied to communication in a conversational mode. Transcripts of four engineering/product design teams communicating in a synchronous, conversational mode during a design session were studied. Based on the empirical results and the proposition that a team’s verbal communication offers a fairly direct path to their thinking processes, the article proposes the link between coherent conversations and coherent thinking.
KeywordsCoherence Assimilation Lawson Furnas
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