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Information Gathering Activities In Engineering Design

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Design Communications

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.744.1 - 13.744.8



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Paper Authors

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Stephen Ekwaro-Osire Texas Tech University

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Innocent Afuh Texas Tech University

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Peter Orono Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract



There is a growing librarian-led movement across institutions of higher learning that seeks to inculcate into students the ability to locate, evaluate, utilize and disseminate information in all formats using the appropriate media to the targeted audience. The need for such “blended” students becomes more critical because of demand by industry for broadly qualified graduates. In their previous paper, the authors analyzed the student information gathering patterns using only the students’ final reports at the end of the semester. An assessment rubric and scoring for the students reports was proposed. In this paper, additional to the final reports, the student design notebook and presentation slides are also analyzed. An assessment rubric and scoring are proposed for the design notebooks and the presentation slides. The data collected is used to map the information gathering activities across the whole design process. Using the information obtained, information literacy is integrated into a capstone syllabus. Information literacy may inculcate in the students the ability to develop search strategies that will come up with more meaningful results. Reading through the results, they will see and learn how to relate and use information not only in their final reports, but also in their design notebooks and presentations. The rubrics developed here are applied at two major engineering programs. The rubrics were used in a capstone course. The implications of the results in the context of engineering design education are discussed.

1. Introduction

Engineering design education is a central element of student training in engineering schools. Design projects are usually open ended and thus present students with challenges. This requires them to sift through large amounts of information in all formats. Blake and Pratt1 opine that new technology and changes in publishing practices continue to increase the quantity of literature available to the academic community leading to information explosion. Therefore information gathering and or research skills have become an essential asset. Zimmerman et al.2 opine that good information gathering skills can help you solve problems, focus your inquiry, generate alternative approaches to problems, save time and money, keep you abreast of current developments in your field of study as well as investigate other fields.

The millennial generation use technology constantly. In fact they are “wired up” in social networking but when it comes to more in depth academic work requiring research and critical thinking skills, they are inept. Forster3 argues that “The Net generation, it turns out may not be so tech savvy after all”. They rely almost exclusively on Google, Wikipedia and other such search engines as major information sources, oblivious of its credibility, reliability and validity for research. They pay little attention to peer reviewed scholarship. Thus while they may be

Ekwaro-Osire, S., & Afuh, I., & Orono, P. (2008, June), Information Gathering Activities In Engineering Design Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--4242

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