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BioE DeFINE (DesJardins): Getting Started

Design Fundamentals In Needs-Finding Experience

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Identify the challenges faced by your clinician. What is the most common problem? What would they most like to change? How could they better serve their patients? Personal interviews (with your clinician and other experts), your own observations, and Google searches are good ways to get started.


Once you have identified a challenge, find out as much as you can.  How prevalent is the condition?  What are the risks associated with the current treatments?

Books and (especially) articles are great for this step. Try this simple strategy: Use books to provide background.  Then use journal articles to support your findings and provide the most up-to-date information. (See Books and Articles.)


Put your new knowledge into context.  How large is the market for products you identified in earlier steps?  Is there room for growth?  Are there patented devices?  Who are your competitors?  The library has several market research databases that address these questions. Articles are also a good source of information (see Market Research).

Patents are a great source of information to describe the workings of devices that are currently on the market (granted patents) and in the pipeline (published patent applications). And again, Articles are a great source of information - this time focusing on the device itself rather than the medical need.


Need help writing a proposal?  Make an appointment with the Engineering Librarian!

Engineering Librarian

Jan Comfort's picture
Jan Comfort
Cooper Library, Room 304