An anlaysis of engineers information seeking activity

Philip Cash, Tino Stanković, Mario Štorga

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Information seeking is an important part of the engineering design process. In this context the Internet has become a significant source of information, shaping the way engineers work and interact. Current work has focused on characterizing
this activity in terms of total time allocated to different information sources or overall tasks, such as evaluating. However, these approaches do not give an understanding of how engineers information seeking affects their problem solving activity and ultimately their performance in the context of the design process. As such, a new approach is needed to decompose the complexity of information seeking activity in order to more effectively support the evolving needs of engineering designers and design researchers. This paper addresses these issues by using an experimental study and network visualization technique to analyze Internet based information seeking activity and its affect on engineers overall performance during the information seeking/feasibility stage of the design process. The study uses both final year trainee engineers and practicing engineers in order to more fully explore the different modes of information seeking activity.
With the study complete, the visual network analysis is used to explore patterns of information seeking and other design activity. Based on the results, three clearly differentiated types of information seeking activity are identified and discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the ASME 2013 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences & Computers and Information in Engineering Conference IDETC/CIE 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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