13 September 2008

Engineering Epistemology - Everyday Engineering Practice

A focus on engineering epistemologies is a focus on understanding the nature of engineering thinking and knowing as well as the practice of engineering and the preparation of engineers for practice. This research involves deep explorations into the nature of engineering which includes the practice of engineering, the preparation of engineers for practice, and the influences regarding choices to pursue engineering as a professional career. Central methodologies are the use of photo elicitation techniques and critical incident interview technques to elicit conceptions of engineering.

There are 2 projects in this research area.
Epistemologies of Engineering Practice. This is a study into the conceptions of practicing engineers and engineering students by asking participants to take pictures that represent "engineering" and then reflect on the meanings of the pictures through a critical incident interview. The research questions include: what images or ideas are assoicated with engineering practice and why? How do conceptions of engineering relate to authentic engineering practice or developing an engineering identity?

Stepping Stones. This is a year long guided research experience with engineering educators in Sweden to study conceptions of engineering from a Swedish perspective. An additional goal is to build capacity in engineering education research. Robin Adams and Sally Fincher (U. of Kent) lead this project with researchers from Uppsala University.