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PhD Thesis

1998

Social, environmental and ethical factors in engineering design theory: a post-positivist approach

Terence Love

Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering
University of Western Australia

Social, environmental and ethical factors in engineering design theory: a post-positivist approach

Terence Love B.A. (Hons) Engineering

This thesis is presented for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy of The University of Western Australia.

Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering
1998

Abstract

This research investigated how social, environmental and ethical factors can be better included in theories of engineering design. The research focused on designing as an essentially human activity via consideration of the epistemological and ontological issues involved in constructing coherent design theory. The research investigations led to a clearer understanding of the roles of ontology, epistemology and methodology in design research and this clarification enabled the construction of a post-positivist approach to engineering design theory that better includes social, environmental and ethical factors alongside the existing products of scientific engineering design research. Other contributions to knowledge that emerged from the research process and which underpin the conclusions include; clarification of the terminology and basic concepts of design research and engineering design research, historical reviews of ways that the terms ‘design’ and ‘design process’ have been used in the literature of engineering design research and design research in the period 1962–1995, clarification of the role of disciplinary structure in the development of coherent design theories, the development of conceptual tools and...

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