What are the qualities we look for in good engineering education research?

Moderator: If you’re a young engineering faculty and you are putting your dossier together and you are doing education engineering research, what are the kinds things you are going to have to emphasis in that dossier. What are the kinds of things that you think are going to get you through that process? Any thoughts on that? What are the qualities we look for in a good engineering education research? I guess that’s a better way to ask the question.

David Radcliffe: Good research questions, appropriate methods, development of conclusions from the results that come in and with what happens in any sort of research — same rules apply.

Moderator: No difference. Maybe different.

David Radcliffe: Same thing.

Moderator: Sounds exactly like technical research.

David Radcliffe: Absolutely!

Moderator: It’s no different. So what we talked about earlier it is basically the same.

Jeremy Noonan: Well, when you say “exactly like technical research” what do you mean “exactly like technical research”?

David Radcliffe: Fundamentally the same.

Jeremy Noonan: There’s a research mind-set that’s similar but the nature of the phenomena that you are studying differs hence the need for different methodologies, even different rules of inference.

Moderator: This session always goes too quickly. We are almost halfway through, so what I want to do is, before we go out into the audience — and I see a lot of scrunched up faces there and some of the comments that I’ve heard so I know we are going to get deluged with [chuckles] questions — but what I want to do is ask you the final question now — give you some time to think about it so that when we come to the end of the session I’ll go around and ask each of you, in 30 seconds or less, to answer a really important question. And the question is going to be this: This is the beginning of the year of dialogue for ASEE. And if you were going to advise ASEE on the potential outcomes at the end of the year, what kinds of things should you be looking for to say that this has been a successful year of dialogue? What should ASEE be looking for? We’re going to help the committee here with some of your advice, so think about that for the rest of the session.

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