An Empirical Examination of Cognitive Chunking and Information Generation in Freehand Sketches during Design Ideation
Galil, Omar Magdy Ibrahim Zaki Mohammed
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This thesis proposes a method to measure information content of freehand sketches during design ideation based on the cognitive chunk formation. The research is broken down into two phases. The first is a protocol study to explore chunk formation in freehand sketches by novice designers while generating solutions for a novel design problem. The second is the identification of entities and functional relations explicitly expressed in the designers’ output. Next, a form neutral (F-ER) representation model is formulated, and information metrics are applied to measure the information content. This work is motivated by the notion that engineering design can be viewed as an information transformation process. It initiates with identifying a need from a problem statement and concludes with a solution description. These two terminals being of different representational forms of information. This work shows: 1) evidence of chunk formation in freehand sketching during design ideation; 2) the existence of correlations between chunks formed and names assigned as well as functions perceived; and 3) a method to compute the information content of freehand sketches based on the entities and functional relations. The implications of quantifying the information content of freehand sketches is valuable to the design research community as whole and to the conceptual design aiding tools more specifically.