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Engineering Design and Practice Sequence (EDPS)

Information Resources and Management for Engineering Design and Practice Sequence (EDPS)

Identify your information needs


Most design projects start with a design brief that includes the client's initial idea
of a design problem and a sense of the final design product or solution.

Some design teams might think that there is missing information that should have been
included in the project description.  Should that be the case, you need to identify 
the missing information that you require in order to proceed with your design project.

Project Stakeholders

Project clients have a design problem and sometimes they do not realize the actual design problem and do not know exactly what they want to get from the design project.  Some project stakeholders may also include current or potential future users of the final product who interact with the design or potential solution.


Project stakeholders may have interests that would be valuable for you to capture, analyse and include as a set of requirements for the final design. You should be aware that requesting information from design clients may not be an easy process.  You need to plan how you will interact with your project stakeholders through verbal and/or written communication. Each individual project client and stakeholder likely has a perspective on what the final design should be.

Define the knowledge gap

Information needs result from a gap in knowledge.  Identifying the things you do not know may be necessary in order to solve the design problem.  It may be difficult to recognize your knowledge gap because human knowledge is always limited and there are many things that you don't even know that you don't know.

As many design projects are performed in groups, there is a need for each group member to be aware of his/her knowledge gap and to share this amongst the members in his/her group in order to proceed with identifying the needed information for the project.  Ask the following questions:

Your current knowledge about the design topic How did you know this? What is your level of confidence in that knowledge?




Once you’ve clearly stated what you do know, it should be easier to state what you don’t know. Keep in mind that you are not attempting to state everything you don’t know. You are only stating what you don’t know in terms of your current information need. This is where you define the limits of what you are searching for. These limits enable you to meet both the size requirements and the time deadlines for a project. If you state them clearly, they can help to keep you on track as you proceed with your research. You should be able to state both what you know and what you want to know, as well as providing space where you can track your planning, searching and evaluation progress. Start thinking about the gaps in your knowledge and how they might better inform your research questions.