What kind of information do you seek as an engineer?
Note: The particular project, time constraints, etc. will determine what and how much information you gather.
Background information - provides context for the general situation of the person or group the team is helping, theoretical knowledge about engineering, science, and math, and general knowledge about the materials, equipment, technology, etc. associated with the project
Standards and/or codes - can provide a consistent methodology for procedures, standardization of parts, safety information, and/or requirements to uphold any regulations or laws
Product (Materials and Components) information - includes cost and specifications for the components, equipment, etc. utilized in developing a solution
Materials specifications - provides physical, chemical, etc. property data
Existing designs - what has already been done so that you do not need to reinvent the wheel
Benchmarking - information or data on existing products or designs that have addressed similar needs or some aspect of the need, which you can compare your solution against
Patents - provides a legal description of an invention, including drawings
Design awards/grants - information on an applicable competitions, awards or grants that you may be able to apply for related to the project, and the characteristics of the winning entries
If you are working with a local Athens high school student, who is wheelchair bound, to make the Athens' campus more accessible. What kind of information might you seek to modify a self-propelled manual wheelchair so they can go anywhere on campus?
This is not an exhaustive list just examples of some of the information you may seek for the project.
number of people in wheelchairs (could this be broken into number as a result of car accidents)
number of hills on campus and grade
user manual or specifications for the wheelchair
safety standards for wheelchairs (may have to focus on a specific part e.g., wheels)
wheelchair modifications for sports
unicycle that can change gears (or a bicycle with a gear hub)
braking systems for wheelchairs
what is their major and interests (to help determine where on campus they will be the majority of time)