The Evolution of Terminology within a Large Distributed Engineering Project

James Gopsill, Chris Snider, Simon Jones, Lei Shi, Ben Hicks

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)

1 Citation (Scopus)
75 Downloads (Pure)


Communication features in many engineering activities within an engineering project. It is the main form by which information & knowledge is shared, and facilitates the generation of a shared understanding between engineers. While there exists a significant body of literature relating to communication, much of the research has been through qualitative studies using techniques such as surveys, interviews and observation. Given the prevalence of computer-mediated communication and the development of techniques to analyse such datasets, there is now the opportunity to provide quantitative metrics that can characterise communication. Therefore, this paper examines this opportunity through the co-word analysis of the subject line terms of an engineering project e-mail corpus comprising of 10,628 e-mails, featuring 1,045 individuals and spanning over a 4 year period. More specifically, the analysis has focused on the evolution, use/re-use and centrality of terms across the various project stages. The results provide interesting insights in the evolution of engineering terminology, which leads onto a discussion on how these metrics may provide indicators of project 'normality'.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDS 80-3 Proceedings of the 20th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED 15)
Subtitle of host publicationVol 3: Organisation and Management, Milan, Italy, 27-30.07.15
PublisherThe Design Society
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9781904670698
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jul 2015

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED)
PublisherThe Design Society
ISSN (Print)2220-4334


  • Communication
  • Product-Service Systems (PSS)
  • Product Development
  • Co-Word Analysis
  • Computer-Mediated Communication

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