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.
KeywordsSingular Value Decomposition Design Team Latent Semantic Analysis Design Cognition Design Session
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Bakhtin, MM: 1981, The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays by M.M. Bakhtin, Holquist, M (ed), Holquist, M and Emerson, C (trans.), University ofTexas Press, Austin, TX.Google Scholar
- Bucciarelli, L: 1994, Designing Engineers, Cambridge, MA, MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Ericsson, KA and Simon, HA: 1993, Protocol Analysis: Verbal Reports as Data, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar
- Dong, A, Hill, A and Agogino, A: 2004, A document analysis technique for characterizing design team performance, Journal of Mechanical Design (to appear).Google Scholar
- Hill, A, Song, S, Dong, A and Agogino, AM: 2001, Identifying shared understanding in design using document analysis, Proceedings of the 2001 ASME Design Engineering Technical Conferences, Pittsburgh, PA, DETC2001 /DTM-21713.Google Scholar
- Cross, N, Christiaans, H and Dorst, K: 1996, Analysing Design Activity, New York, Chichester.Google Scholar
- Hutchins, E: 1995, Cognition in the Wild, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar
- Landauer, TK, Laham, D and Foltz, PW: (2000, The intelligent essay assessor, IEEE Intelligent Systems and Their Applications 15(5): 27–31.Google Scholar
- Lawson, B: 1997, How Designers Think, Architectural Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
- Mabogunje, A and Leifer, LJ: 1997, Noun phrases as surrogates for measuring early phases of the mechanical design process, Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology, Sacramento, CA.Google Scholar
- Milne, A and Winograd, T: 2003, The iLoft project: A technologically advanced collaborative design workspace as research instrument, Proceedings of the 13th Annual Intenational Conference on Engineering Design (ICED03), Stockholm, Sweden.Google Scholar
- Quillian MR: 1968, Semantic Memory, in J Minsky (ed), Semantic Information Processing, Cambridge, MA, MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Schön, DA: 1987, Educating the Reflective Practitioner, Jossey-Bass, San FranciscoGoogle Scholar
- Song, S, Dong, A and Agogino, AM: 2003, Time variation of “story telling” in engineering design teams, in A Folkeson, K Gralen, M Norell & U Sellgren (eds), Research for Practice: Innovation in Products, Processes and Organisations, Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Engineering Design, Stockholm, Sweden, The Design Society.Google Scholar
- Stanford JavaNLP Project. Retrieved from http://www-nlp.stanford.edu/javanlp/ on February 2, 2004.
- Stempfle, J (firstname.lastname@example.org) (2004, 22 January), Group 3, E-mail to Andy Dong (email@example.com).Google Scholar
- Tang, JC and Leifer, LJ: 1998, A framework for understanding the workspace activities of designers, Proceedings of the 1988 ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work, ACM Press, New York pp. 244–249.Google Scholar
- Vygotsky, LS: 1978, Mind in Society, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar
- Wertsch, J: 1991, Voices of the Mind, A Sociocultural Approach to Mediated Action, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar