Kroll, Ehud and Koskela, Lauri (2016) Applying the proto-theory of design to explain and modify the parameter analysis method of conceptual design. International Journal of Design Creativity and Innovation, 4 (1). pp. 1-25. ISSN 2165-0349

This article reports on the outcomes of applying the notions provided by the reconstructed proto-theory of design, based on Aristotle’s remarks, to the parameter analysis (PA) method of conceptual design. Two research questions are addressed: (1) What further clarification and explanation to the approach of PA is provided by the proto-theory? (2) Which conclusions can be drawn from the study of an empirically derived
design approach through the proto-theory regarding usefulness, validity and range of that theory? An overview of PA and an application example illustrate its present model and unique characteristics. Then, seven features of the proto-theory are explained and demonstrated through geometrical problem solving and analogies are drawn between these features and the corresponding ideas in modern design thinking.
Historical and current uses of the terms analysis and synthesis in design are also outlined and contrasted, showing that caution should be exercised when applying them. Consequences regarding the design moves, process and strategy of PA allow proposing modifications to its model, while demonstrating how the ancient method of analysis can contribute to better understanding of contemporary design-theoretic issues.

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