Mapping sentences into graphics to communicate engineering design information: Concept revisited

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The use of words in prose form to represent and communicate design ideas is not popular in engineering or at least not to the same extent as graphical representation. Is this because prose is completely defective for communicating design information? A variant question to the above was first investigated in 1987 at Carnegie-Mellon University and revisited nearly 15 years later at Arizona State University. The investigations gave graphics an edge over prose, albeit with the results so close, especially for the latter, that the maxim; the jury is still out there, would be an apt description. It is for this reason that the matter is revisited in the investigation reported in this paper. Ninety-eight (98) freshmen, taking an engineering graphics course (CETG 102: Engineering Graphics with AutoCAD) at the Botswana International University of Science and Technology, were given a ‘test’ on their first day of the course. In the ‘test’ the students were given a word description of a system and asked to draw/sketch it. The data gained from the experiment was collated and analyzed for quality and or ambiguity. Major findings from the investigation indicate that a fairly large numbers of students interpreted the word description of the system correctly and the ambiguity was fairly minimal with only 28 different groups of wrong interpretations of the same word description observed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)387-396
Number of pages10
JournalSmart Innovation, Systems and Technologies
Publication statusPublished - 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Decision Sciences
  • General Computer Science


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