I.O.U. — What you see below (in the table and turquoise ink) are rough-draft components that might be used as part of the major revision described above.
OBJECTIVES of Design
(is it Conventional-Design?)
| PRODUCT (yes, is C-Design)
| STRATEGY (yes, is C-Design)
| THEORY (no, it's Science)
comment for reader: Sections 2 & 3 will be revised by the end of 2011, but they might be worth reading now.
Soon (hopefully in late-August 2011) a new part of this section will fulfill the I.O.U. from Problem Solving and Metacognition in Education.
• Design Method and Scientific Method: A comparison of my models for Integrated Design Method and Integrated Scientific Method shows that, as explained in Science and Design [which links to the section you're now reading], when students use Design Method they already are using all of the main components of Scientific Method: during design they have been Choosing Objectives & Goals, Searching for Relevant Information, Predicting and Observing so they can use Reality Checks to Evaluate Theories, Creatively Generating Ideas for Theories & Experiments by using Retroductive Logic, and Making Action-Decisions. These overlaps will let them learn Scientific Method much more easily, due to a transfer of ideas-and-skills from design to science.when students use Design Method they already are using all of the main components of Scientific Method: during design they have been Finding Information, Predicting and Observing so they can use Reality Checks to Evaluate Theories, Creatively Generating Ideas for Experiments & Theories by using Retroductive Logic, Choosing Objectives & Goals for a Problem-Solving Project, and Making Action-Decisions. These overlaps will let them learn Scientific Method much more easily, due to a transfer of ideas-and-skills from design to science.
Here are photo-reduced diagrams for Design Method & Scientific Method, which will be compared here in mid-August:
comment: Below here is the old content, which will be radically condensed-or-cut and revised in August.
the two sections below (2 and 3) we'll
with summaries of process (in scientific method and design method)
before moving into comparisons of
science and design.
2A. The Process of Science
In scientific logic, as in daily life,
you use reality checks to decide whether "the
way you think the world is" corresponds to "the way the way the world really
is." ... A physical experiment allows observations of
what nature actually does, and a mental experiment lets
us make predictions about what nature will
do. In a reality check, scientists
compare OBSERVATIONS with THEORY-based PREDICTIONS. If a theory
fails in a reality check because its predictions do not match observations,
scientists can reject the theory. ... Most philosophers think that,
according to formal logic, we cannot prove a
theory is either true or false, but we can develop a rationally
justified confidence in our conclusions. .....
The diagram below has three main elements:
OBSERVATIONS, PREDICTIONS, and THEORY. If you study the diagram and
the summary above, it should make sense. Notice the arrows pointing
away from theory (because a theory is used for making predictions, as explained
above) and toward theory (because observations are used to generate a theory,
as explained below).
Process of Design
The first step in solving a problem
is recognizing that it exists. You recognize a problem when you understand
the way a situation is now, and you can imagine a future in which things
have changed and improved. Or maybe you can imagine a future in which
things have changed but have not improved, and you want to avoid these
changes. Either way, if you want to take advantage of your opportunity
to make a difference, you will generate and evaluate ideas-and-actions
that help you make progress toward solving the problem.
Imagine that you are trying to design
a product, and your overall objective is "an improved refrigerator."
You define your quality-GOALS by
defining the desirable properties of a satisfactory product. In
this case, what kind of "improvements in the refrigerator" do you want? Your
goals are based on your knowledge of what is, and your imagination about
what could be.
Usually, the search for a solution
begins by remembering old products,
by searching your own memory and our collective memory (in books, websites,...
and in other people) for existing products. For each old product,
you collect OBSERVATIONS of the product's
properties, and ask "How closely do these known properties match my goals
for the properties of a satisfactory product?" In this question,
you are comparing observations with goals in
a quality-check that lets you determine
how well a product meets your quality-goals, which are your criteria
for defining quality.
You can widen your range of options
by imagining new
products. Usually, a new product is invented when, guided by goals, you
begin with an old product and make changes. Based on what you know about
the old product and new changes, you can do mental experiments to predict the
properties of a new product. Or you can predict the properties of an
old product in a new situation. In either case, you use your PREDICTIONS by
asking "How closely do the predicted properties match my quality-goals?" In
this quality-check, you are comparing
predictions with goals.
You can also gain knowledge by testing
a product (old or new) in a physical experiment that lets you make OBSERVATIONS about
properties. Then you can ask, "How closely do the known properties
match my quality-goals?" In this quality-check,
you are comparing observations with goals.
Design Decisions: You use quality
checks (by comparing quality-goals with observed properties or predicted
properties) to evaluate each potential product, old or new. Eventually,
you may find a product that satisfactorily achieves your goals, and you
consider the problem solved. Or you continue searching, or abandon
The same process of action-and-logic
is used for designing a product or strategy. But the process
is different for designing a theory in science.
The section below compares science with
cousin in design, which is engineering.
Design and Science
If we define design as
the designing of products or strategies,
and science as the designing
of theories, how are design and science related? What are
the similarities and differences, in process and purpose? The
main actions-and-logic used in hypothetico-deductive Reality Checks (for design and science) are summarized in these
And for a more detailed description, check the lower part of this diagram.
I.O.U. — Soon the upper part of this diagram also will be described in this page, in a section about
the relationships between my models of Integrated Design Method and Integrated Scientific Method.
DESIGN Method: During the
process of design, you set quality-GOALS for desired properties, use physical
experiments to make OBSERVATIONS, and use mental experiments to make PREDICTIONS,
so you can do QUALITY CHECKS either by comparing observations (of known properties)
with goals (for desired properties) or by comparing predictions (of expected
properties) with goals (for desired properties). If you want to understand
design method better, study the diagram and this brief summary to get an overview
of "the big picture" and then re-read the previous section about The Logic
SCIENTIFIC Method: During
the process of science, as explained earlier and shown in the diagram,
OBSERVATIONS (from physical experiments) are used to imaginatively
generate a THEORY, which can be used with if-then logic (in a mental
experiment) to make PREDICTIONS, so you can do a REALITY CHECK by comparing
observations with predictions, to test whether "the way you think it
is" (assuming the theory is true) corresponds to "the way it really
Comparing Process: The
methods used in science and design are related, yet different. The
three elements of thinking — goals, observations, and predictions — can
be compared in three ways. Two comparisons (of observations with
goals, and predictions with goals) are used in design for quality checks. One
comparison (of observations with predictions) is used in science for
a reality check.
Comparing Purpose: In
design, the main objective is to develop a product or strategy, to
invent or improve something that is humanly constructed. In science,
the main objective is to develop theories, to understand
Comparing Process-and-Purpose: In design,
we use quality checks to decide whether a particular product
(or strategy) satisfactorily achieves our quality-goals for the product
(or strategy). In science, we use reality checks to
test whether a theory corresponds with reality, whether it is true. The
process is different because the purpose is different.
Comparing Overlaps: Often,
the results of science can be applied in the designing of products or strategies,
but this is not the main objective of science. During design it may
be useful to improve a theory that is being used while developing a product
or strategy, but theory development (which is the main objective in science)
is not the main objective in design.
Comparing Cousins: Although
it can be interesting to compare science with a wide range of design fields,
it seems most immediately useful to compare science with its closest
cousin in design, which is engineering. Comparing
objectives, we see that science tries to understand
nature, while engineering tries to improve
technology. Notice the two differences: understanding versus improvement,
and nature versus technology. But
there are also similarities, interactions, and overlaps. The
understanding gained by science is often applied in technology, and science
often uses technology, especially for making observations but also in other
ways. Sometimes in science or engineering — for example,
when we try to understand the chemistry and physics of combustion in automobile
engines — we study the behavior of
nature in the
context of technology. And because the
definitions we're using distinguish between science and design on the basis
(objectives-and-methods), not careers, a scientist sometimes
and an engineer sometimes does science.