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The Engineering Method: a Framework for Understanding Technology Development
University of Brasilia

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Contribution: This paper offers a general framework of technology development which allows for (a) a systematic approach to analyze technologies’ main components, strengths, limitations and forward paths; (b) a better understanding by en- gineers of their practices and their projects; and (c) a clearer way to convey the engineering enterprise to students, non-engineering stakeholders in projects and the general public. Background: Technology has been an immense force of material, economical and societal change in the last centuries. Several authors, such as Marshall McLuhan and Kevin Kelly, developed important ideas related to technology and the engineering process, but there seem to remain gaps between these theories to be explored, bridged and extrapolated. Research questions: (1) What are engineers’ aims in developing technologies? (2) What are technology’s main components, and its relationships? (3) What differentiates the engineering enterprise from others? Methodology: Integrate previous theories of technology, apply more technical concepts that were not addressed by writers who did not come from an engineering background, and derive consequences from the proposed methods. Findings: A proper theory of technology can better guide engineers from several branches to understand their practices and the fruits of their labor. It also aids in explaining these points to stakeholders, students and the general public.