Decision Making in Engineering Design
25 The Validation Square: How Does One Verify and Validate a Design Method?
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- Ris (Zotero)
- Reference Manager
Validation of engineering research has traditionally been anchored in the context of scientific inquiry that demands formal, rigorous and quantitative validation. Logical induction and deduction play key roles in this formalism, making it particularly useful for validating internal consistency within the framework of the scientific method. Since much engineering research is based on mathematical modeling, this kind of validation has worked-and still works-very well. There are, however, other areas of engineering research that rely on subjective statements as well as mathematical modeling, making formal, rigorous and quantitative validation problematic. One such area is that of design methods within the field of engineering design. In this paper, we explore the question: “How does one validate design research in general, and design methods in particular, given that many proposed designs will never be realized and that it is often infeasible to follow the realized designs through their complete life cycles?”
Anchored in the tradition of scientific inquiry, research validation is strongly tied to a fundamental problem addressed in epistemology: “What is scientific knowledge, and how is new knowledge confirmed?” Thus, we first look to epistemology for: (1) reasons why the traditional approach of formal, rigorous and quantifiable validation is problematic for engineering design research; and (2) an alternative approach to research validation. We present a new validation procedure, namely, the Validation Square, and offer advice for applying it in an engineering design research context.
We recognize that no one has the answer to the questions we pose. To help us converge on an answer to these questions, we think aloud and invite you to join us. It is our hope that the ensuing discussion will enrich all of us as members of the design community.