ed research · engineering ed · faculty development

Conceptual Difficulties Experienced by Trained Engineers Learning Educational Research Methods

Borrego, M. 2007. Conceptual Difficulties Experienced by Trained Engineers Learning Educational Research Methods. Journal of Engineering Education, 96(2): 91-102.

This paper would be helpful for any STEM faculty member who considering doing educational research, in order to help determine what you need to learn about.  The paper describes two types of “paradigm changes” that engineering-trained faculty go through: understanding the fundamental differences between engineering and education research that make additional considerations necessary in education work, and that engineering faculty naturally first approach engineering education as practitioners (teachers) rather than researchers.  Five conceptual difficulties were identified: (1) framing research questions with broad appeal, (2) grounding research in a theoretical framework, (3) fully considering operationalization and measurement of constructs, (4) appreciation of qualitative or mixed-methods approaches, and (5) pursuing interdisciplinary collaboration.

Topics of a 5-day “Rigorous Research in Engineering Education” workshop are also briefly described.

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