Towards a Theoretical Framework for Using “Context” in Engineering Design Processes for Global Health Applications Conference Proceeding uri icon



  • Abstract; Many scholars and practitioners claim that engineered solutions must be contextually appropriate, particularly when designing for global health applications. Although neglecting to understand context has been cited as a common cause of project failure in global health work, engineering designers and researchers have a limited number of available tools, methods, and frameworks to support the collection and application of contextual information to design decisions. This paper presents findings from multiple studies and proposes an advancement to the definition of context and a preliminary framework for using contextual factors in engineering design. The framework includes definitions for two primary concepts: (1) classifications, i.e., defined categories of context called “contextual factors”, and (2) applications, i.e., specific strategies and methods for incorporating contextual factors into various design stages. We provide examples of the framework’s potential use in design practice and research, such as improving reporting in design literature and assessing the transferability of solutions from one context to another. Ultimately this work advances our understanding and definition of “context” in engineering design processes for global health applications. We aim for these findings to advance the fields of mechanical engineering and design science and seed subsequent scholarship aimed at evolving the theoretical constructs associated with gathering, synthesizing, and applying contextual information within engineering design work.

publication date

  • August 20, 2023

has restriction

  • closed

Date in CU Experts

  • January 25, 2024 1:56 AM

Full Author List

  • Burleson G; Toyama K; Sienko K

author count

  • 3

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