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Information Gathering: A Critical Step for Quality in the Design Process

Summary: Information gathering is a critical step in the product design process. Designers should collect information to adequately define the problem, generate appropriate alternative solutions, and analyze, evaluate, and select the best solution to meet customer needs. As part of a larger effort to study how engineering students approach design problems, data on information-seeking behavior was collected from freshmen and senior engineering students while they designed a playground for a fictional neighborhood. In addition, to model some customer requirements, a group of parents was presented with the problem statement and asked what information should be considered to solve this problem. The information the students specifically requested and the assumptions they made while they solved the design problem are compared to the information that parents believed to be important. The data show that senior students gather more information in a broader range of categories than freshmen students; however, the comparison to parents' information shows that most students, in both groups, did not gather enough information to adequately satisfy this particular set of customers' needs.

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  • Topics: Customer Satisfaction and Value, Engineering
  • Keywords: Customer satisfaction (CS),Information management,Engineering,Design
  • Author: Bursic, Karen M.; Atman, Cynthia J.
  • Journal: Quality Management Journal