PhD Oral Exam - Suo Tan, Industrial Engineering
When studying for a doctoral degree (PhD), candidates submit a thesis that provides a critical review of the current state of knowledge of the thesis subject as well as the student’s own contributions to the subject. The distinguishing criterion of doctoral graduate research is a significant and original contribution to knowledge.
Once accepted, the candidate presents the thesis orally. This oral exam is open to the public.
Engineering design is a complex decision-making process which frames the transition from
an engineering problem to a final product, to meet a set of requirements. During this process,
perception is inevitably involved. Perception, a term originated from psychology, referring to a
process where a person arrives at an interpretation of his/her sensory experience about the surroundings, has been involved in a broad scope in engineering design, e.g., understanding a design problem, comprehending customers requirements, conceptualizing design thoughts, organizing and managing resources, and evaluating alternative solutions. To study the engineering process from the perception’s perspective, a theoretical model has been proposed. In this model, workload, skill, knowledge, and affect are chosen as major factors. Based on the model and the Environment-Based Design methodology, methods are proposed to quantify designer’s perception and performance at conceptual design stage. Experimental studies have been conducted to validate the proposed model. As a result, the model serves well as a phase-based quantification tool for designer’s perception and performance. In addition, a significant positive correlation has been found between one’s perception and performance. Furthermore, the model implies a foundation to improve ones performance for engineering design.