Representations in Circuit Design: A Test of Goel's Theory of Notationality

D.K. Sobek, II and D. Patel (USA)


representation, electrical engineering design, design of experiment


Vinod Goel [1] proposes a theory of notationality, derived from observations of interior designers, that distinguishes three classes of symbol systems: notational, non-notational, and discursive. He theorizes that design processes can be improved through the use of non-notational symbols. This paper presents the 23 factorial designed experiment used to test the applicability of this theory to electrical engineering. The results indicate that non-notational representations have a positive effect on designer productivity when complex design criteria are considered, but primarily if accompanied with discursive representations. Non-notational representations did not have a strong effect on number of ideas generated or quality of solution.

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