Using linguistic analysis tools to characterize engineering design project documentation

Micah Lande, James Nelson

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


When creating novel and creative artifacts, engineering students and professional engineers alike must come up with novel and innovative ways to describe their innovations and inventions. Linguistic analysis can be a useful tool for providing information about engineering project documentation to show characteristics that accompany creation of just such a new artifact. Previous work demonstrated that the number of noun phrases in a written report had a positive correlation with the grade of the project - A proxy for measuring successful innovation. This work further explores the use of language using specialized linguistic analysis software as a means of generating quantitative data to make qualitative characterizations. Procedures for analyzing a written report were developed and tested using four sets of draft and final reports from a graduate-level, project-based mechanical engineering core design and innovation course. The procedure reported involved capturing the frequency and distribution of terms and noun phrases containing keywords by comparison to 1) a reference corpus of generalized American English, 2) other established, standard technical reference corpus and 3) documentation from other projects in the same set from the same mechanical engineering course. Distinguishable trends for each analyzed document arose. The linguistic attributes could be used to indicate a relative scale of innovative language use across the set. This could be a useful way of characterizing the type of engineering project itself to better scope the educational experience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - Sep 24 2013
Event120th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - Atlanta, GA, United States
Duration: Jun 23 2013Jun 26 2013


Other120th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityAtlanta, GA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)


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