San Antonio, Texas
June 10, 2012
June 10, 2012
June 13, 2012
Educational Research and Methods
25.44.1 - 25.44.14
A First Step in the Instrument Development of Engineering specific Epistemic/Epistemological/Ontological BeliefsIf one of your first-year engineering students asked seriously after your first class, like “So, whowill I be?”, “What will I know?”, “How will I know what I will know?”, “What will I dealwith?”, and “How will I deal with?”, ask yourself – would you be able to answer any of thesequestions? And how would you answer it?Much research has showed that students’ beliefs about these questions determine how theyengage in engineering learning and problem solving. In other words, learning involves more thanthe acquisition of skills and knowledge, but also involves changes in what types of people webecome and how someone understands himself or herself within this specific area. As a result, itis critical to explore epistemological foundation in engineering by assembling the means tocontribute to engineering-specific ways of knowing in the name of epistemic culture research.However, the authors suppose we don’t have a coherent model about epistemological foundationin engineering. Therefore this study aims at exploring how engineering-related beliefs areconceived, differentiated, and interrelated one another.This study is processed in five main parts, such as 1) identification of dimensions, 2) expertevaluation survey for refinement, reduction of items, and validity, and 3) instrument testing andvalidity. The first step in the development of scale was to identify the dimensions. Based on thecolloquia’s definition of engineering epistemologies, the authors posed the three majordimensions: epistemic beliefs, epistemological beliefs, and ontological beliefs. The firstdimension is engineering epistemic beliefs: what engineering should be as a discipline as well asprofessional practices. For this, we applied Figueiredo’s framework that has 4 constructs, such asengineering as basic sciences, engineering as human sciences, engineering as design, andengineering as crafts. The second dimension is engineering epistemological beliefs. The authorsapplied Hofer’s framework which includes 4 constructs, such as certainty of engineeringknowledge, simplicity, of engineering knowledge, source of engineering knowledge, andjustification for engineering knowledge. The final dimension is ontological beliefs: beliefs aboutthe nature of reality that engineering community deals with. The authors applied a uni-dimensional approach into defining the 3 constructs, such as realism, pragmatism, and idealism.An initial pool of 150 items was created based on a literature review. The items were worded tofit 1 of 11 constructs identified. To determine content validity and reduce the number of items inthe instrument, the initial pool of 150 items was presented to a panel of experts. The panel of fiveexperts in the field of engineering education assisted the face validity. In addition, three focusgroups with engineering students, faculty, and professional engineers were conducted to furtherrefine the items. Further revisions were conducted by researchers to decrease redundancy andduplication of items, resulting in a final set. To conduct a pilot test of the instrument, a surveywas emailed to a sample of engineering students. Implication are addressed for more deliberateinvestigation on the instrument.
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