The engineering design process is so comprehensive and versatile that some people wonder what are the differences between engineering design and the scientific method. The truth is that while both concepts are extremely useful, there are important differences between them.
What Is the Scientific Method?
Let’s begin by defining what the scientific method is. The online dictionary Merriam-Webster offers a good working definition: Scientific method is a set of “principles and procedures for the systematic pursuit of knowledge involving the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses.”
As you can see, the scientific method entails a series of steps. In this regard, the scientific method is similar to the engineering design process. In both cases, there is no “official” number of steps, as many authors offer different versions.
What Is Engineering Design?
As we have seen in a previous post, engineering design is defined as “the organized development and testing (through the use of creativity as well as mathematical and scientific knowledge) of products and processes that perform a desired function within specified limits.”
Again, there is no definitive version of the engineering design process. However, regardless of the different presentations, the substance remains the same.
- Requirements: Here, engineering designers identify the needs of potential customers.
- Product concept: Definition of the basic functions that the product should perform.
- Solution concept: The exploration of alternatives that may fulfill all the functions defined in the previous step.
- Embodiment design: The final product begins to take shape thanks to technical drawings, prototypes, etc.
- Analysis: The solution is tested to verify its effectiveness and manufacturability.
Engineering Design vs. Scientific Method
When we compare both definitions, it’s easy to see the differences between engineering design and scientific method.
Above all, while the goal of the scientific method is the pursuit of knowledge in general, engineering design is focused on the development of products and processes.
In short, while a scientist aims to answer a question about nature, an engineering designer creates solutions that satisfy the needs of users and consumers.
Learn More About Engineering Design
Engineering design is an exciting field with myriad real-life applications. For example, these are some previous posts you can read to learn more about this fascinating topic.
- How is engineering design different from other types of design?
- What is engineering design?
- A basic glossary of engineering design: part 1and part 2
- Engineering design for children: 5 useful benefits
- What is the engineering design process?
- The amazing history behind Roman bridges
- What is a Gantt chart?
Darnell Technical Services is an engineering design firm with extensive experience in a vast array of projects.
Our headquarters are located in Santa Ana, California, and we have an office in Las Vegas, Nevada. Contact us today by telephone (714-285-0082 (CA), 702-945-2899 (NV)) or through our social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to learn more about all the technical instruments and materials we put at your disposal.