Vice Provost, Innovations in Undergraduate Education, University of Toronto
Workshop R: Engineering Education Research
This workshop will help participants setup and run research studies in engineering education. The workshop will use short instruction with larger amounts of time for small group activities to meet the learning goals described below. Participants will be clustered by common interests and design a research study in small groups, moving between stations.
By the end of the workshop, participants should be able to:
- Develop a research question and select a relevant framework or perspective
- Select a method or set of methods and design an approach to collect data
- Apply ethical human subject research principles to develop appropriate strategy
- Analyze and draw conclusions from data
- Appreciate their own worldview as an engineering education researcher
Participants will be grouped by common interest in themes like:
- Student values and motivation
- What constitutes engineering thinking and knowledge
Each group will design a research study to answer a specific research question within their theme as they rotate through stations that focus on conceptual frameworks, qualitative research, quantitative research, human research ethics, etc.
|09:00 – 09:45||Arrival, coffee, networking. Assign participants into groups|
|09:45 – 11:15||Session 1: Planning Engineering Education Research
The session will introduce allow groups to identify a research theme used as the context for the activities over the course of the day. It will start by discussing how to identify a research question or goal, and the role of literature and theoretical frameworks. Groups will select a research question, and promising frameworks and literature to inform the question.
|11:15 – 11:30||Refreshment break|
|11:30 – 12:30||Session 2: Groups move to station A or C (described below)|
|12:30 – 13:30||Lunch|
|13:30 – 14:45||Session 3: Rotate to station B or C (described below)|
|14:45 – 15:00||Refreshment break|
|15:00 – 16:30||Session 4: Ethics, fairness, and integration
This session will focus on the importance of human research ethics, including institutional and national requirements, how to find resources on this topic, when ethics applications are necessary, and how logistics vary by type of study, university, stage of the study, and time of year. Some time will also be devoted to the unique considerations about the scholarship of teaching and learning, Indigenous research, database research, and QA/quality improvement.
The session will conclude by showcasing some of the studies developed over the course of the day, and identifying potential collaborations.
Each station will provide groups the opportunity to apply research methods to their topic. The stations are below. Station C (design science) will run in both Session 2 and 3.
Station A: Using quantitative methods
In this session we will consider when to use a quantitative research method, which method to use, and some common approaches. Quantitative research can take on many different forms, from the development and deployment of surveys to the use of existing data from a variety of sources. It can be used on its own, or in conjunction with qualitative methods. We will examine the choice of method and what quantitative methods are best used for. Participants will learn some of the basic principles of survey design. In addition, we will explore the use of existing data sets and the issues related to access. By the end of the session participants should be able to make strategic decisions about the use of quantitative methods and have some understanding of the steps necessary to illicit and utilize quantitative data effectively.
Station B: Using qualitative methods
In this session we will consider when to use a qualitative research method, which method to use, and some common approaches. Qualitative research can take on many forms, from the use of interviews or focus groups, to observational methods or even self-reflection. The focus of and motivation for qualitative research can also vary, for example providing the narrative of a particular group and/or context, encouraging action, or showcasing a case study. In this session, we will examine the choice of method and what qualitative methods are best used for, whether on their own or alongside quantitative research. Participations will learn some of the basic principles of interacting with participants and data coding, as two key aspects of qualitative research. By the end of the session participants should be able to make strategic decisions about the use of qualitative methods and have some understanding of the steps necessary to carry out a qualitative research study.
Station C: Design science research
Design Science Research (DSR), or Design-Based Research as it is better known in the field of education, is a fairly recently recognised research approach. Inspired by the design process, it aims to bridge the gap between more theoretical research and practice through the creation of an intervention or artefact. The session is structured around the following questions:
- When should we use DSR, and what research is currently going on?
- What is considered an intervention or an artefact?
- What distinguishes DSR from other methodologies?
- How does one go about conducting a DSR project?
Groups will design a process for their research topic using DSR.