The role of logbooks as mediators of engineering design work

Hamish C McAlpine, Philip Cash, Ben Hicks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
253 Downloads (Pure)


Information transformation is key to engineering design work. However, research on how information management tools, and logbooks in particular, mediate this, is fragmented. We explore this via two studies (from which we confirm the central role of logbooks) and propose three modes of mediation: facilitating cognition and creation, gathering and collation of information, and staging and transformation of information. The findings explain the widespread use of logbooks through their support of these three modes. Consequently, we contend that multi-modal mediation is one of the main reasons why logbooks are such a central and enduring medium. This synthesises and extends theory on mediation and information use in engineering design. Further, practical insights are derived for the development new information management tools.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-29
Number of pages29
JournalDesign Studies
Early online date12 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017


  • information processing
  • design knowledge
  • reflective practice
  • logbooks


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