Asee peer logo

A First Step in the Instrument Development of Engineering-related Beliefs Questionnaire

Download Paper |


2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Epistemic Research

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.44.1 - 25.44.14



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Ji Hyun Yu Purdue University, West Lafayette

visit author page

Ji Hyun Yu a Ph.D student of learning, design, and technology at Purdue University.

visit author page


Johannes Strobel Purdue University, West Lafayette

visit author page

Johannes Strobel is Director of INSPIRE, Institute for P-12 Engineering Research and Learning, and Assistant Professor of engineering education and learning design and technology at Purdue University. NSF and several private foundations fund his research. His research and teaching focuses on policy of P-12 engineering, how to support teachers and students' academic achievements through engineering learning, the measurement and support of change of habits of mind, particularly in regards to sustainability and the use of cyber-infrastructure to sensitively and resourcefully provide access to and support learning of complexity.

visit author page

Download Paper |


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.

Yu, J. H., & Strobel, J. (2012, June), A First Step in the Instrument Development of Engineering-related Beliefs Questionnaire Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--20804

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2012 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015