Measuring Behaviors for Assessing Design Expertise: A Comprehensive Framework for Professional Development

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Increasing attention has been paid to understanding expert design behavior to help novice students enhance their knowledge and abilities for their professional development. However, an integrative framework must still be created to identify expert-based design behavior. Using an international web-based survey, this study identifies major expert design behaviors, and reports on the development of a unique behavioral multiple scale that measures central behaviors in the design process for assessing design expertise. Considering theoretically grounded behaviors of experts in the design literature, a 29-item scale is formulated for capturing key expert design behaviors based on exploratory factor analysis. Evidence for construct validity and reliability is presented, suggesting seven primary expert diversified behaviors in the design process. Nevertheless, using a structural equation modeling, it is concluded that the behavioral multiple scale represents only six significant behaviors of design expertise. Moreover, a path analysis of this comprehensive framework shows that some behaviors are central, directly related to design expertise (i.e., strategic approach to design complexity and framing of design problems), and act as mediators for other behaviors (i.e., reflection on design problems and solutions, systematically breaking the design into sub-problems, application of conceptual thinking, and reuse of previous solutions). Findings can be implemented by intervention programs in the design studio aiming to support professional development in design education by training students to enhance their expertise.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSAGE Open
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2023


  • behavior
  • design
  • design education
  • expert-novice differences
  • knowledge
  • problem-solving
  • structural equation modeling

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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