Stage 1 | Subject outline | version control

Design, Technology and Engineering Stage 1
Subject outline

Version 4.0
For teaching in 2024. Accredited in November 2018 for teaching at Stage 1 from 2020. 

Stage 1 | Subject outline | Content | Investigation and analysis

Investigation and analysis

The design and realisation process should begin with the identification of a problem or opportunity, followed by an initial investigation and research analysis. The design brief should specify constraints and considerations, and propose creative and innovative solutions. Students define criteria to evaluate how well the finished solution meets the requirements of the design brief.

Possible investigation and analysis strategies or techniques may include:

  • use creative thinking techniques (e.g. visualisation, lateral thinking, brainstorming) to define the problem and seek solutions
  • collaborating with peers to use visual tools (e.g. mind mapping) to explore concepts, problems, or opportunities
  • investigating and interpreting solution design factors such as:
    • technologies: tools, processes, and manufacturing methods
    • materials: characteristics and properties
    • innovation and creativity: inventing or improving products
    • sustainability: life-cycle analysis, carbon footprint, potential to reuse or recycle, fair trade, customs, carbon footprint
    • target audience, end user and potential for entrepreneurship and marketing
    • ethical use and application of the end product
    • ethical concerns related to health and safety, discrimination, social media, advertising, use of data and images, and conflicts of interest
    • historical and cultural influences including social trends, the changing nature of work, technological change
    • legal responsibilities: patents, safety requirements, intellectual property, creative commons, Australian International Standards, regulations and legislation including OH&S, safety of the product for the user
    • economic considerations: costing of products including materials, labour, and equipment and machinery, responsible use of resources, product longevity, time management, and material availability.
  • creating a written or multimodal design brief that includes key criteria and/or constraints such as function and/or aesthetics
  • analysing existing product or system characteristics and features to inform the design and realisation process
  • collecting and analysing data from target or end-point users for a purpose (e.g. survey, questionnaire) 
  • researching and analysing ideas from different contexts such as the manufacturing sector or emerging technologies 
  • researching historical design, period influences, or different cultural traditions
  • acknowledging and correctly referencing sources of information and ideas
  • conducting peer review and collecting feedback about the design brief
  • critically analyse sources of information for reliability and validity.