You have to go there

A major claim of this study is that this process [of engineering design] transcends rational, instrumental process. But you have to go there and watch the process to capture this essential feature of designing. It is not recoverable from the artifact, nor is it there in the documentation and textual remnants of the design process. These, in their object-world voice, speak only of the empty shell of designing. Oral histories are a potentially sufficient source; these will also take the form of object-world representations of process. Multiple oral histories, if my thesis is correct, ought to be conflicting, reflecting the different interests and responsibilities of participants. The synthesis of a coherent story about design process from these becomes then a process of negotiation.

Louis Bucciarelli, Designing Engineers

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