Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Dimensions of knowledge in prototyping: a review and characterisation of prototyping methods and their contributions to design knowledge

Version 1 : Received: 4 June 2021 / Approved: 7 June 2021 / Online: 7 June 2021 (11:30:21 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

DOI: 10.1017/pds.2021.130


Whilst prior works have characterised the affordances of prototyping methods in terms of generating knowledge about a product or process, the types, or ‘dimensions’ of knowledge towards which they contribute are not fully understood. In this paper we adapt the concept of ‘design domains’ as a method to interpret, and better understand the contributions of different prototyping methods to design knowledge in new product development. We first synthesise a set of ten dimensions for design knowledge from a review of literature in design-related fields. A study was then conducted in which participants from engineering backgrounds completed a Likert-type questionnaire to quantify the perceived contributions to design knowledge of 90 common prototyping methods against each dimension. We statistically analyse results to identify patterns in the knowledge contributions of different methods. Results reveal that methods exhibit significantly different contribution profiles, suggesting different methods to be suited to different knowledge generation. Thus, this paper indicates potential for new methods, methodology and processes to leverage such characterisations for better selection and sequencing of methods in the prototyping process.


Design knowledge, Knowledge dimensions, prototyping, design cognition, design thinking


ENGINEERING, Automotive Engineering

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