Research and scholarship in engineering education
CRLT in Engineering recognizes the importance of its role in furthering the mission of the College of Engineering to promote excellence in engineering education. The office supports the initiatives of colleagues in this area and works with instructors to develop scholarly investigations of teaching and learning and to plan rigorous research in engineering education. CRLT-Engin also conducts its own research, and each fall the office organizes a poster session at which faculty and graduate students display the results of their scholarship in engineering education. Some related engineering projects include:
- Seventh Annual Poster Session (March 20, 2013)
- Sixth Annual Poster Session (February 7, 2012)
- Fifth Annual Poster Session (February 8, 2011)
- Fourth Annual Poster Session (October 22, 2009)
- Third Annual Poster Session (October 18, 2008)
- Second Annual Poster Session (October 23, 2007)
- First Annual Poster Session (October 18, 2006)
Daly, S., Yilmaz, S., Christian, J., Seifert, C. M., & Gonzalez, R. (2012). Design heuristics in engineering concept generation. Journal of Engineering Education. 101(4), 601-629.
Green K., Pinder‐Grover, T. & Millunchick, J. (2012). Impact of screencast technology: Connecting the perception of usefulness and the reality of performance. Journal of Engineering Education. 101(4), 717-737.
Finelli, C. J., Holsapple, M. A., Ra, E., Bielby, R. M., Burt, B. A., Carpenter, D. D., Harding, T. S., & Sutkus, J. A. (2012). An assessment of engineering students’ curricular and co‐curricular experiences and their ethical development. Journal of Engineering Education, 101(3), 469‐494.
Harding, T. S., Carpenter, D. D., & Finelli, C. J. (2012). An exploratory investigation of the ethical behavior of engineering undergraduates. Journal of Engineering Education, 101(2). 346‐374.
Holsapple, M. A., Carpenter, D. D., Sutkus, J. A., Finelli, C. J., & Harding, T. S. (2012). Framing faculty and student discrepancies in engineering ethics education delivery. Journal of Engineering Education, 101(2), 169‐186.
Daly, S. R., Christian, J., Yilmaz, S., Seifert, C. M., & Gonzalez, R. (2012). Assessing design heuristics in idea generation within an introductory engineering design course. International Journal of Engineering Education, 28(2), 463‐473.
***Other related projects may be accessed at Finelli’s research website: http://www.engin.umich.edu/research/e3/***
Engineering education is an emerging interdisciplinary field in which scholars apply the methods of educational research to address a variety of issues pertaining to teaching and learning in engineering. The Rackham Certificate Program in Engineering Education Research was established to provide engineering doctoral students with a formal program to learn the skills needed to be proficient in the field. Details about the program are contained in the full proposal.
The Rackham Certificate Program in Engineering Education Research requires 15 credit hours of coursework (three courses and two electives) as listed here:
- ENG 580/CHE 580 Teaching Engineering
- One of the following courses on quantitative methods:
- EDUC 792 Methods in Educational Research: Qualitative
- Two elective class.
The program must also include an engineering education research project – for most students, this will take the form of a course project, and some students may even complete a dissertation that incorporates engineering education research.
Engineering graduate students who are interested in enrolling in the program are invited to apply at any time (provided they have completed at least one term in a Rackham program and are in good academic standing). Students must maintain cumulative GPA of B in order to continue in the program, and the requirements must be completed within four years of admission to the certificate program.
Applications to the program should include four items:
- a letter of application,
- a proposed plan of study,
- a current transcript, and
- a letter of support from the student’s advisor.
Engineering education research requires the application of interdisciplinary knowledge, skills, and techniques from engineering, design, education, and social sciences. Research in engineering education utilizes quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods approaches. The following resources provide guidance on approaches to engineering education as well as specific information on how to design research, collect and analyze data, and connect ideas to conceptual and theoretical frameworks. Clicking on links will open the resources.
What does it mean to conduct engineering education research?
- Streveler, R. & Smith, K. (2006). Conducting rigorous research in engineering education. Journal of Engineering Education, 95(2), 103-105.
What are common challenges in understanding engineering education research?
- Borrego, M. (2007). Conceptual difficulties experienced by trained engineers learning educational research methods. Journal of Engineering Education, 96(2), 91-102.
What are the theoretical and conceptual frameworks and methodologies that can be applied to engineering education research?
- Case, J. & Light, G. (2011). Emerging methodologies in engineering education research. Journal of Engineering Education, 100(1),186-210.
- Maxwell, J. (2005). Conceptual framework: What do you think is going on? In Qualitative Research Design: An Interactive Approach, (pp. 33-64). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
- Svinicki, M. (2010). A guidebook on conceptual frameworks for research in engineering education. http://cleerhub.org/resources/6.
How do qualitative and quantitative methods compare? How can you use both?
- Borrego, M., E. P. Douglas, et al. (2009). Quantitative, qualitative, and mixed research methods in engineering education. Journal of Engineering Education, 98(1), 53-66.
What are the methods of quantitative research in engineering education?
- Stansfield, R. B. (2010). Planning, implementing, and reporting quantitative research in education: A user's guide. http://cleerhub.org/resources/4.
What are the methods for qualitative research?
- Koro-Ljungberg, M. & Douglas, E. (2008). State of qualitative research in engineering education: Meta-analysis of JEE articles. 2005-2006. Journal of Engineering Education, 97(2), 163-175.
- Leydens, J. A., Moskal, B. M., & Pavelich, M. (2004). Qualitative methods used in the assessment of engineering education. Journal of Engineering Education, 93(1), 65-72.
- Maxwell, J.A. (2009). Designing a qualitative study. In L. Bickman and D.J. Rog (eds.), Applied Social Research Methods (pp. 214-253). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
- Ragin, C., Nagel, J. & White, P. (2004). Scientific Foundations of Qualitative Research. National Science Foundation. Retrieved from http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2004/nsf04219/nsf04219.pdf.
- Turner, D. W. (2010). Qualitative interview design: A practical guide for novice investigators. The Qualitative Report, 15, 754-760.
- Van Note Chism, N., Douglas, E. & Hilson Jr., W. J. (2008). Qualitative research basics: A guide for engineering educators.
How do you analyze qualitative data?
- Carley, K. (1993). Coding choices for textual analysis: A comparison of content analysis and map analysis. Sociological Methodology, 23, 75-126.
- Dye, J. F., Schatz, I. M., Rosenberg, B. A., & Coleman, S. T. (2000). . The Qualitative Report, 4(1), 1-10.
- Ryan, G. W. and Bernard, H. R. (2003). Techniques to Identify Themes. Field Methods, 15(1), 85-109.
- Seidel, J. V. 1998. . In The Ethnograph User’s Manual (v5), Appendix E. Denver, CO: Qualis Research Associates. www.qualisresearch.co
Institutional Review Board
The U-M Institutional Review Board (IRB) provides oversight for University research conducted with human subjects. Human subjects include students, and thus IRB must review research projects that are associated with the scholarship of teaching and learning. To determine if a project requires IRB review, the following questions must be answered:
- Does the project meet the regulatory definition of research? Research is defined as: a systematic investigation, including research development, testing and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge. (45CFR46.102(d))
- Does the project involve human subjects? A human subject is defined as: a living individual about whom an investigator (professional or student) conducting research obtains (1) data through intervention or interaction with the individual; or (2) identifiable private information. (45CFR46.102(f))
- It is the policy of the University that to be deemed to be exempt, human subjects research activities must be reviewed and determined to fall within one or more of the explicit exemption categories listed in the federal regulations or the University of Michigan Demonstration Project exemption. Some scholarship of teaching and learning projects are considered exempt, but they must be submitted to IRB first to have an exempt status. See the following exemption categories: http://www.irb.umich.edu/application/exempt.html
Local Evaluation Firms
The following local evaluation firms can help with external evaluation for NSF grants:
- Formative Evaluation Research Associates (FERA)
FERA is an independent evaluation group based in Ann Arbor, Michigan that has provided evaluation and learning opportunities to the nonprofit sector for over 35 years.
...promoting excellence in engineering education