This work falls under ‘research’ type paper. Unlike engineering research, engineering education research (EER) in India has lacked popularity and acceptance. However, EER is gaining recognition globally, and specifically in India, faculty members housed in traditional engineering programs are starting to engage in EER. This study seeks to understand how faculty members in India with a formal engineering background engage in the process of conducting EER. Of explicit focus is how Indian faculty experience the transition, particularly as they develop the skills required for EER. It is the hope that this work will inform the current practices that guide novice engineering education researchers in India.
This qualitative research study involved four research participants from two different universities in India where EER was valued comparably to engineering research. To address the following research question, How do faculty members housed in traditional engineering programs build, interpret, apply and communicate new knowledge in engaging in engineering education research in India?, four interviews (~ 60 minutes each) were conducted online via Zoom and transcribed. Narrative methodology was employed to prompt participants to elaborate on their novice experience as engineering education researchers. Then, in a conversational phase, semi-structured questions were administered as a way of ensuring the desired information was addressed. The Boyer’s Model of Scholarship was used as a theoretical framework to guide this research study as a structural model aligning with modes of scholarship with faculty members’ engagement in EER.
First-cycle coding was conducted in two iterations. In the first iteration, the open coding method was used to explore the data. In the second iteration, in vivo coding was used to draw from the participants’ own words as codes. Code mapping was later applied to assemble and organize codes generated in the first-cycle coding process. In second-cycle coding, pattern coding was used to identify relationships between different categories and subcategories of the data. Detailed analytic memos were written at different stages of the coding process to document and reflect on the code choices and to learn more about the emergent categories and subcategories in the data. The themes that emerged from this study were: motivations to pursue EER; processes followed in EER; professional development required for transition; factors influencing the conduction of EER; challenges in conducting EER; and suggestions for novice engineering education researchers. Complete details on each of these themes will be presented in the full paper.
Counter to identifying as mixed-methods researchers, faculty members were more oriented towards quantitative research, which could result from similarities between quantitative approaches and traditional engineering research. Additionally, despite their reliance on quantitative methods, faculty lacked prior training and/or experience designing survey instruments as well as validity and reliability tests. It was also found that a lack of understanding the field influenced faculty members’ resistance to engaging in EER. This work initiates identification of process intervention points that, if addressed, could serve to enhance the transition to engaging in EER for Indian faculty, and potentially other novice faculty, in general.
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