Social interactions during the design process

The Observer XT is being used as part of an ongoing research project that explores how social interactions influence creative thinking and built results in the building design process.  The Observer XT was used to code design team member behaviour during multidisciplinary design team communication.

The coding strategy was developed according to themes which emerged from a series of focus group discussions, which considered the critical factors in collaborative, interdisciplinary thinking in built environment design teams.  The Observer XT software was then used across the three main communication media used by the design teams - face to face meetings; conference calls; and online forum discussion. 

Once communication had been coded, the datasets were exported into a social network analysis package, which enabled a visual representation of the patterns, dominance, and centrality of members within the team.  Analysis of these patterns generated findings relating to the cohesiveness if the group; interdisciplinary dynamics; and communication differences across media. 

Using The Observer XT has been particularly helpful in deriving new methods for looking at the design process and it has played a vital role in expanding our understanding about collaborative relationships in the construction industry.

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