Although analogical reasoning is claimed to play a central role in creative cognition and the development of expertise, few studies have explored the nature and prevalence of spontaneous analogising in design contexts. We report an experimental comparison of analogy use by expert and novice design engineers. Concurrent think-aloud protocols were analysed to derive measures of the rate of schema-driven analogising (i.e., the recognitionprimed application of abstract experiential knowledge that could afford a design solution to a familiar problem type), and case-driven analogising (i.e., the invocation of a concrete prior design problem whose solution elements could be mapped onto the current problem). Results supported our prediction that expert designers would demonstrate more schema-driven than case-driven analogising, whilst novices would show the reverse pattern of analogising. We discuss the implications of these results for theories of design cognition and expert design practice.
The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Design Studies 25 (5), 2004, © ELSEVIER.