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Board # 8 : Assessing Students’ Researcher Identity and Epistemic Cognition

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Conference

2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count

7

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/27928

Download Count

93

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Paper Authors

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Lisa Benson Clemson University

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Lisa Benson is a Professor of Engineering and Science Education at Clemson University, with a joint appointment in Bioengineering. Her research focuses on the interactions between student motivation and their learning experiences. Her projects involve the study of student perceptions, beliefs and attitudes towards becoming engineers and scientists, and their problem solving processes. Other projects in the Benson group include effects of student-centered active learning, self-regulated learning, and incorporating engineering into secondary science and mathematics classrooms. Her education includes a B.S. in Bioengineering from the University of Vermont, and M.S. and Ph.D. in Bioengineering from Clemson University.

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Courtney June Faber University of Tennessee

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Courtney is a Research Assistant Professor and Lecturer in the College of Engineering Honors Program at the University of Tennessee. She completed her Ph.D. in Engineering & Science Education at Clemson University. Prior to her Ph.D. work, she received her B.S. in Bioengineering at Clemson University and her M.S. in Biomedical Engineering at Cornell University. Courtney’s research interests include epistemic cognition in the context of problem solving, researcher identity, and mixed methods.

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Rachel Louis Kajfez Ohio State University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-9745-1921

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Dr. Rachel Louis Kajfez is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering Education at The Ohio State University. She earned her B.S. and M.S. degrees in Civil Engineering from Ohio State and earned her Ph.D. in Engineering Education from Virginia Tech. Her research interests focus on the intersection between motivation and identity of undergraduate and graduate students, first-year engineering programs, mixed methods research, and innovative approaches to teaching.

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Marian S. Kennedy Clemson University

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Marian Kennedy is an Associate Professor within the Department of Materials Science & Engineering at Clemson University. Her research group focused on the mechanical and tribological characterization of thin films. She also contributes to the engineering education community through research related to undergraduate research programs and navigational capital needed for graduate school.

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Katherine M Ehlert Clemson University

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Katherine M. Ehlert is a doctoral student in the Engineering and Science Education department in the College of Engineering, Computing, and Applied Sciences at Clemson University. She earned her BS in Mechanical Engineering from Case Western Reserve University and her MS in Mechanical Engineering focusing on Biomechanics from Cornell University. Prior to her enrollment at Clemson, Katherine worked as a Biomedical Engineering consultant in Philadelphia, PA. Her research interests include identity development through co and extra-curricular experiences for engineering students.

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Dennis M Lee Clemson University

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Dennis M. Lee is a doctoral student in the Engineering and Science Education Department and Graduate Research Assistant in the office of the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies in the College of Engineering, Computing, and Applied Sciences at Clemson University. He received his BA and MS in bacteriology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Prior to his studies at Clemson University, he taught introductory biology at Tri-County Technical College in Pendleton, SC. His research interests include the development of researcher identity and epistemic cognition in undergraduate STEM students.

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Penelope Vargas

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Abstract

Undergraduate Research Experiences (UREs) have been shown to enhance an undergraduate student’s academic experience, deepen their understanding of their field, and lead to increased retention of undergraduate students within STEM programs. While UREs may improve undergraduate STEM education, not all students can access UREs due to either constraints on their time and/or resources or the resources of their undergraduate institution. The overarching goal of this research project, “Student Perspectives on Researcher Identity and Transformation of Epistemologies (SPRITE),” is to determine how students develop a researcher identity and epistemic beliefs through UREs, and then to develop a theoretical model that captures epistemic beliefs and identity development from the student’s perspective. In the final phase of our project, we will develop methods to incorporate these elements into traditional learning environments that are accessible to all undergraduate engineering students. In this paper, we will report on the initial phases of our project including the development of our interview protocol, and participant recruitment and selection. In the first project phase, a survey was deployed to five institutions of varying size, type, and location. The survey consisted of demographic questions, 16 open-ended items designed to understand students’ conceptualizations of research and their beliefs about themselves as researchers, and 45 closed-ended items designed to measure their engineering epistemic beliefs and need for cognitive closure. Survey data collection is ongoing; this paper reports on results from our initial survey deployment (n=113 completed surveys). Inductive, open coding techniques were used to analyze responses to the open-ended questions to capture the range of ideas found in the data. Close-ended questions were analyzed based on composite scores for six theoretical factors (Closed-mindedness, Discomfort with Ambiguity, Certainty of Knowledge, Sources of Knowledge, Simplicity of Knowledge, and Justification of Knowledge). Five factors with high reliability measures (Closed-mindedness, Discomfort with Ambiguity, Certainty of Knowledge, Sources of Knowledge and Justification of Knowledge) were used for cluster analyses, the results of which we are using to guide interview participant selection. Survey data and salient theories of epistemic beliefs and epistemic cognition were used to develop an interview protocol for the next phase of the study. Interview questions will probe students’ conceptualizations of research and their beliefs about themselves as researchers, the processes they use to make decisions and trouble-shoot problems in their research projects, their beliefs about knowledge in their field, and factors that students identify as influential in their research experiences.

Benson, L., & Faber, C. J., & Kajfez, R. L., & Kennedy, M. S., & Ehlert, K. M., & Lee, D. M., & Vargas, P. (2017, June), Board # 8 : Assessing Students’ Researcher Identity and Epistemic Cognition Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/27928

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