University of Twente Student Theses


RaDEX: A Rationale-Based Ontology for Aerospace Design Explanation

Kuofie, Ernest Jackson (2010) RaDEX: A Rationale-Based Ontology for Aerospace Design Explanation.

Abstract:The process of designing aircraft systems is becoming ever more complex and sophisticated, due to an increasing amount of requirements especially relating to technology and performance. Moreover, the knowledge on how to solve these complex design problems becomes less readily available, mainly due to the absence of systems to facilitate quick and easy access to information and knowledge that could significantly improve design work. This is against a backdrop of the rich knowledge that is created in the course of the design process but is unfortunately not always successfully transferred for the benefit of future projects to help explain why certain design choices were made or why some design solutions were selected. Taking a design rationale capture perspective to solve this problem, the study reported in this thesis follows a design research approach to propose a Rationale-based Design Explanation (RaDEX) framework as an ideal representation schema by drawing from and integrating theories of explanation, design studies and design rationale research. The framework forms the basis of the RaDEX ontology that is proposed as a useful schema to record design rationale. Preliminary empirical evaluation of the ontology in a case study as a proof of concept to demonstrate its efficacy showed promising results with adequate scores of usefulness and ease of use from the perspective of design engineering practitioners. The research provides a goal-oriented approach to design rationale research by addressing rationale capture requirements with respect to required content for effective and satisfactory design explanation, a direct consequent from real problems in design practice. Scientific contributions offered by the thesis include a design explanation model, derived by applying differing scientific accounts of explanation to the design domain, which identifies key points where explanations are required and the necessary content to answer design why-questions; a different notion of design rationale as the link between design solutions, requirements and selection criteria; and an ontology-based design rational capture method. A practical output of the research is a rationale-based ontology which can be adopted by design organizations as a schema to define knowledge-based design rationale capture systems.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Fokker Aerostrutures B.V.
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Business Information Technology MSc (60025)
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