Date of Award

Summer 2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Engineering Management & Systems Engineering

Committee Director

William R. Peterson

Committee Member

Resit Unal

Committee Member

Robert R. Safford

Committee Member

James P. Bliss


Sensitivity analysis is one of the most important analysis techniques in a decision making process. The analytic intent behind sensitivity analysis is the variation of parameters in data models, and the examination of the effect of these variations on the outcome of the models. There are four primary benefits from conducting a sensitivity analysis: (a) sensitivity analysis facilitates the decision makers' development of recommendations, (b) sensitivity analysis serves as a tool for communication among stakeholders or decision makers in a project or an organization, (c) sensitivity analysis increases overall understanding of the decision models, and (d) sensitivity analysis serves as a useful tool in decision model development. Sensitivity analysis in engineering economy can be divided into two main categories. The first one is called one-parameter-at-a-time analysis. This analysis assumes that all parameters or cash flow elements except one are held constant. The second category is the analysis of more than one parameter at a time. This research explored graphical display of three-at-a-time sensitivity analysis in engineering economy. This analysis approach required extensive information to be displayed and decisions to be made in an information-rich domain.

This increased information complexity is harder to represent in conventional two-dimensional displays creating the need for display innovations that support the sensitivity analysis tasks of exploration, understanding, and decision making. Problems with current two-dimensional information representation techniques include limited dimensionality and limited amounts of information that can be portrayed in a display. While three-dimensional information displays offer promise in resolving those issues, there is a lack of empirical evidence to support the appropriateness of using three-dimensional display for sensitivity analysis of three cash flow elements in engineering economy. A three-dimensional information display was designed and an experiment was conducted which tested this three-dimensional integrated display against the traditional two-dimensional bar chart. Recommendations were made for the most immediate needs for future research based on existing gaps in the body of knowledge in engineering management, engineering economy and human computer interaction.