This work seeks to understand how design practitioners discover, select, and adapt design methods and methodologies. Design methods and methodologies are mainly used for educational purposes and are not formally transferred into design practice and industry. This prevents design practitioners from accessing the rich body of research and knowledge posed by academia. Various web platforms and textbooks allow users to discover or search for design methods, but little support is provided to assess whether or not a method is appropriate for the context or the task at hand. In this exploratory study, interviews were conducted with practicing engineers and designers. Interview responses were coded and analyzed in an effort to understand the patterns in searching, selecting, assessing, and exchanging experiences with peers in professional practice. This analysis showed that interviewees would like to search for design methods based on their desired outcomes. Additionally, interviewees considered their personal contacts to be the most valuable source of new methods. These insights show that web-based communities of practice may be a potential link between academia and industry, but existing web repositories and communities require further development in order to better meet the needs of the design practitioner community.

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