June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
Educational Research and Methods
26.186.1 - 26.186.24
An Inductive Qualitative Analysis of Student Interviews on Engineering Global PreparednessInternational experiences are viewed as an essential component of engineering education. Yetlittle has been done to operationally define engineering global preparedness, specify the variousalternatives for achieving global preparedness, or determine to what degree global preparednessis the result of personal attributes, prior experiences, or curricular/ co-curricular/extra-curricularexperiences. This paper discusses preliminary research findings from the second phase of aNational Science Foundation’s Research in Engineering Education (REE) initiative, a multi-university project that investigates how globally focused learning experiences within engineeringspecifically impact students’ global preparedness. This expanding body of research employsthree separate but integrated studies.This paper draws on undergraduate engineering student interview data collected during thesecond phase of the REE initiative, a mixed-methods quasi-experiment conducted in Spring 2014among the three collaborating schools. Following an extensive questionnaire that collected dataon students’ demographics, prior international experiences, and global preparedness as measuredby the Global Perspective Inventory (GPI) and Engineering Global Preparedness Index (EGPI), aselection of students were invited to be interviewed to unpack why they scored “high” or “low”on the two instruments. The purpose was to explore emerging themes related to engineeringglobal preparedness not captured by the questionnaire. The following research questions wereexplored. First, is cultural orientation and depth of curiosity something inherent in students, orcan it be expressed through international experiences? Second, how do students’ motivations totravel, reflectiveness, and openness to international experiences contribute to engineering globalpreparedness, and what types of international experiences best foster these elements inengineering students?Interview participants were selected using a cross-case matching methodology based on theirglobal preparedness measure score for both instruments (i.e., high vs low scorers). Twenty-sixundergraduate engineering students representing the three collaborating institutions were invitedand interviewed. Interviews were holistically reviewed with an a priori coding scheme in mindbased on the research objectives. An inductive coding protocol was then utilized to further refinethe coding definitions while allowing for additional themes to emerge. The preliminary codesconsisted of international experiences’ types and structures, motivations, openness to experience,degree of reflection. In addition, the Engineering Global Preparedness conceptual model(developed in previous work by the authors) was used as a prompt to identify attributes andoutcomes of international experiences that resonated with the students. The transcripts were thencoded according to the final coding scheme by multiple research team members for inter-raterreliability purposes, and arbitrated where necessary.This paper provides a summary of the results and how the research questions are addressed.Differences in students’ reflections emerged based on the depth of their engagement with theculture and community in the host country. The results from this study help broaden theknowledge base regarding the contextual factors related to global preparedness and offer theengineering education community insights into the dynamic interaction between students and theinternational experiences in which they participate.
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