Navigating the path from technical engineering to engineering education research: a conceptual model of the transition process

Sarah Dart*, Sloan Trad, Kim Blackmore

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    14 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    As the engineering education research (EER) field is yet to fully mature, there are few formally established pathways to EER. Consequently, most researchers transition to EER after completing technical engineering qualifications. Reconciling this training with the distinctly different expectations of educational research creates unique challenges for these researchers, who must also navigate colleagues’ perceptions of EER as a ‘soft’ discipline with reduced reward and recognition prospects. To understand why and how individuals make the transition, this study used semi-structured interviews with emerging engineering education researchers to develop a conceptual model of the EER transition process through the lens of Bourdieu’s Theory of Practice. Those engaging in EER are intrinsically interested in education and recognise research output is highly valued within universities. Transitioning requires researchers to develop capital in the form of networks, opportunities, and skills. This leads to researchers evolving their epistemological beliefs to align with educational research. Recommendations are made for supporting successful transitions to EER.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1076-1091
    Number of pages16
    JournalEuropean Journal of Engineering Education
    Volume46
    Issue number6
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2021

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