Multidisciplinary design behaviour using sketching and mental imagery: a literature review and considerations for future research

Mia A. Tedjosaputro, Yi Teng Shih, Patrick Pradel, Chantelle Niblock

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review


The main behavioural characteristics of the early design stage are that designers move freely between various levels of detail and different cognitive strategies; this is the central tenet of this research. The interplay between the role of sketching and mental imagery during the design process is somewhat mysterious. It is assumed, but not known, how externalisation assists the imagery process and vice versa. In an attempt to demystify this interplay, this paper examines observable behaviour associated with the act of sketching and using mental imagery. It reviews established protocol analytical methods based on two criteria: cognitive strategies and ability to be applied in different design domains. Also, it evaluates the appropriacy of seminal coding schemes for the analysis of mental imagery to better understand moments of insight (idea generation). It concludes that established coding schemes are inadequate methods when used to facilitate analysis of cognitive strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-37
Number of pages11
JournalSmart Innovation, Systems and Technologies
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Coding schemes
  • Mental imagery
  • Protocol analysis
  • Sketching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Decision Sciences(all)
  • Computer Science(all)

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