Taxonomy of BME Design

Bluntly put, there are few sources on taxonomy of engineering courses, and none yet on BME design that I can find.  A first attempt may be found at the link at the end of this page.  My initial work in this field involved looking a various curricula in design at other institutions (see earlier design course listings off of the main page) and doing a survey of design instructors in academia and designers in the the BME industry.  This survey may be found here.  An Excel spreadsheet containing a summary of this work may be found here.  This was reported on at the BME conference in October 2001, this PowerPoint presentation may be found here.  An article has been published in the International Journal of Engineering Education based upon this work (Volume 19, #2, 2003, pgs 346-353, "Designing Biomedical Engineering Design Courses").   Related work using concept mapping also appeared in the Journal of Engineering Education in April 2003 (Vol. 92, No 2, pgs. 167-180, "Concept Mapping as a Form of Student Assessment and Instruction in the Domain of Bioengineering").  Three taxonomies involving concept maps may also be found at the end of this section.

Related & relevant other sources:

Taxonomy of Comp. Sci. & Eng. copyright 1980 LOC # 79-57474 is a detailed taxonomy of Computer Science that may work as a model for your efforts in this area.

Dym, Clive L.  "Engineering Design, a Synthesis of Views", Cambridge University Press, 1994  is an interesting non-denominational overview of the design process, taxonomy, and trends.

The web site: allowed the download of a paper on "Design Web: Towards a Distributed Design Research Information Server" by Pravir K Chawdry  of the University of Bath and Anjula Garg of the University of Newcastle on Tyne.  In it they spelled out a taxonomy of Engineering Design Research, Biomedical Engineering shows up (sort of) at level two of his almost three level taxonomy.   Very good starting point, but cannot find future publications.  (Circa 1995, web site now extinct.)  A copy of their engineering design research taxonomy may be found here

The web site: has an article titled: A Taxonomy for Classifying Engineering Decision Problems and Support Systems, which is a generally generic treatment of  design problem analyses.   Dr. Ullman also has a Mechanical Engineering oriented text: The Mechanical Design Process, Ullman D. G., McGraw Hill, 1992.  (There is a later edition.) , titled:   Design and the scientific enterprise by Ken Friedman (ken.friedman@BI.NO) is good reading, as are several of the papers in this sequence.  Go to to subscribe...

Ken Friedmans whole paper on Design Science and Design Education may be found at: and is VERY worth while reading...

Dixon, J.R., Duffey, M.R., Irani, R.K., Meunier, K.L. and Orelup, M.F., 1988, A Proposed Taxonomy of Mechanical Design Problems, Proceedings ASME Computers in Engineering Conference, San Francisco, California, pp. 41-46.  (From the web site: - found under the NSF design integration engineering web site, under the decision based workshop, see:   ) 

Last but not least, for now: takes Blooms taxonomy and revises it to fit design education...

Here is my first cut of a taxonomy based upon the King & Fries text, with additions.

Here is a BME specific concept map for the design course as I teach it.  Items in yellow are generic design topics, those in green are BME specific...  You will likely have to view this in landscape mode and/or print out on multiple sheets of paper.   Here is the same map, produced via the Florida Cmap tools, remapped into a hierarchical format.

In our work with design, and as a result of interviews and maps from ~ 30 interviewees, we have the following hierarchical generic BME design taxonomy.  (Requires printout over 3 pages.)

last update: November 2, 2004.

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