Virtual On line
June 22, 2020
June 22, 2020
June 26, 2021
This paper presents the theoretical support and background literature for developing an assessment to understand how the research experiences of engineering Ph.D. students shape them as future professionals. Many concerns, both in the U.S. and locally at ASEE, have been raised about Ph.D. students being adequately prepared for professional practice. The paper describes the selection of a theoretical framework based on a literature review, and then the application of theory to specify the measurement definitions in the development of an assessment instrument. The purpose of this assessment instrument is to measure how often in their research experience engineering Ph.D. students had an opportunity to practice aspects that are important to career preparation. An extensive literature review was conducted, focusing on what it means to become a professional, and why becoming a professional is difficult, especially for students. Several theories were considered until one, an ontological approach called ‘ways of being’ was selected which explains why students find it difficult to become a professional. Application of this framework, in the form of a review of the literature of the engineering Ph.D. research experiences, identified the five ontological aspects that are most important for career preparation and should be measured by the assessment; viz. (i) working as a team member, (ii) exposure to collaborator’s form of practice, (iii) exposure to relevant professional practice, (iv) modeling and simulation tasks, and (v) practical skills. These five ontological aspects were defined and operationalized for use in the assessment, for which assessment questions can be written as a next step. This paper adds to the limited literature on engineering Ph.D. students’ research experiences by presenting the process of selecting and applying a theoretical framework, literature review, and defining measurements in an assessment.
Holloway, E., & Radcliffe, D. F., & Douglas, K. A., & Oakes, W. C. (2020, June), Assessing Engineering Ph.D. Students’ Research Experiences: What is Important to Assess? Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34175
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