Clinical- experimental analysis of design problem solving

John M. Carroll, John C. Thomas, Ashok Malhotra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Two studies of desgin problem solving are'reported. Experiment 1 presents an observational study of an actual client-designer worksession. Analysis of the session transcript reveals a systematically structured interaction. The client and the designer decompose the overall design problem into subproblems, each of which is smaller and somewhat more well structured that the overall problem. Experiment 2 is a laboratory study. The 'client' role is simulated by an instruction booklet; subjects play the 'designer' role. Again, it is found that subjects spontaneously structure the elements of a design problem into subproblems the nature of which is systematically related to aspects of problem structure. There is high intersubject agreement as to how the decomposition into subproblems should proceed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)84-92
Number of pages9
JournalDesign Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 1979

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Architecture
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Engineering
  • General Social Sciences
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Artificial Intelligence


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