Expertise comparison among product design students: a cross-sectional analysis
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Product design expertise has mostly been studied in relation to problem-solving and the act of designing. In this paper, we approach the topic from another perspective and explore the differences in product perception of students from different education levels. We conceptualize product perception as a representation of critical thinking towards designed objects and professional assessment/understanding of artifacts. Our aim is to evaluate how students’ product perception change over the years of undergraduate product design education. Data was collected through students’ written product evaluations of a ball-point pen. 41 first-year, 29 second-year, 33 third-year, and 26 fourth-year undergraduate product design students participated in the study. We analyzed students’ product evaluations through initial and focused coding. Our findings indicate a shift from ordinary to professional sense-making between the second- and third-year students. There are three main points that define the professional sense-making of students: a dependence on subjectivity, the significance attributed to users, and better synthetic capabilities that are built around form, material, manufacturing, and detailing relationships.
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