Diversity in Engineering Education Research: Insights from Three Study Designs. Research BriefReport as inadecuate

Diversity in Engineering Education Research: Insights from Three Study Designs. Research Brief - Download this document for free, or read online. Document in PDF available to download.

Center for the Advancement of Engineering Education (NJ1)

One research area with particular potential for having impact on engineering education is diversity. Diversity is a significant concern in engineering education, as evidenced by the numerous recent calls to recruit and retain more women and underrepresented minorities into engineering majors and professions. By encouraging educators to think about diversity, the authors hope to emphasize the idea that investigating issues of diversity in engineering education means both characterizing retention and participation in engineering and delving into the theories that might help explain these patterns. Examples of how people are thinking about and studying diversity can be drawn from the work of engineering faculty who participated in the Institute for Scholarship on Engineering Education (ISEE). The primary goal of ISEE is to cultivate a diverse community of engineering education researchers who can think and work across disciplines with the ultimate aim of improving the engineering student experience. The example studies in this paper examine types of diversity that are frequently discussed as national concerns: (1) underrepresented minority students; (2) transfer students; and (3) learning styles. These researchers developed their studies and conceptions of diversity issues in ways salient to their specific campus contexts. The researchers were also very deliberate and careful in the development of their research questions and study designs. In each study, both the research question and research methods allowed the researcher to first assess the study context, describe the situation, and back up that description with data. The researcher was then well-positioned to dig deeper and develop a richer, more meaningful explanation of why and how certain things were happening in the setting. The three studies described provide examples of how some researchers are conceptualizing and investigating diversity in engineering education. For other engineering educators who may wish to conduct similar studies of diversity issues, it is important to view these examples not necessarily as models to be replicated, but as illustrations of the importance of context and the critical need to rethink assumptions about diversity.

Descriptors: Majors (Students), Engineering Education, Minority Groups, Minority Group Students, Engineering, Transfer Students, Research Methodology, Student Experience, Researchers, Student Diversity, Females, Sciences, Disproportionate Representation, College Faculty, African American Students, Hispanic American Students, Cultural Differences, Cognitive Style

Center for the Advancement of Engineering Education. Available from: University of Washington. Box 352183, Seattle, WA 98195. Fax: 206-221-3161; e-mail: celtad[at]engr. washington.edu; Web site: http://www.engr.washington.edu/caee

Author: Allendoerfer, Cheryl; Jones, Sharon; Hernandez, Jaime; Bates, Rebecca; Adams, Robin

Source: https://eric.ed.gov/?q=a&ft=on&ff1=dtySince_1992&pg=5303&id=ED539620

Related documents