The concept of function offers a high potential for thinking and reasoning about designs as well as providing a common thread for relating together other design information. This paper focuses specifically on risk data by examining how this information is addressed for a design team conducting early stage design for space missions. Sample risk information is decomposed into a set of key attributes which are then used to scrutinize the risk information using three approaches from the pragmatics sub-field of linguistics: i) Gricean, ii) Relevance Theory, and iii) Functional Analysis. Based on the deficiencies identified in this analysis, the concepts of functional templates and a risk worksheet are used to suggest corrective actions for improving treatment of risk data by explicitly accounting for five risk attributes developed in this work.

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