Design Problem Solving: A Task Analysis

  • Balakrishnan Chandrasekaran


I propose a task structure for design by analyzing a general class of methods that I call propose-critique-modify methods. The task structure is constructed by identifying a range of methods for each task. For each method, the knowledge needed and the subtasks that it sets up are identified. This recursive style of analysis provides a framework in which we can understand a number of particular proposals for design problem solving as specific combinations of tasks, methods, and subtasks. Most of the subtasks are not really specific to design as such. The analysis shows that there is no one ideal method for design, and good design problem solving is a result of recursively selecting methods based on a number of criteria, including knowledge availability. How the task analysis can help in knowledge acquisition and system design is discussed.