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Information Use by Undergraduate STEM Teams Engaged in Global Project-Based Learning

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Reimagining Engineering Information Literacy: Novel Perspectives on Integration, Assessment, Competencies & Information Use

Tagged Division

Engineering Libraries

Tagged Topic


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.963.1 - 26.963.17



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Paper Authors


Laura Robinson Hanlan Worcester Polytechnic Institute

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Research & Instruction Librarian

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Evelyn M Riley Worcester Polytechnic Institute

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Evelyn Riley is a Research & Instruction Librarian at the Gordon Library, Worcester Polytechnic institute in Worcester, MA.

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A Qualitative Analysis of Information Use in Award Winning 2003-2013 Undergraduate Group Projects Connecting Technology with Human Needs.Students completing open ended group projects require information resources that are varied andof high quality; instruction librarians can provide critical curricular support for this pedagogicalapproach within engineering and more broadly within multidisciplinary group projects wherestudents seek technological solutions to fill a human need. This study builds on previous workthat has used citation analysis to characterize use of information by undergraduate teamscompleting engineering group projects (Denick, Bhatt, Layton, 2010). It examines awardwinning reports by students completing international, off-campus, or on-campus group projectsat a polytechnic institute that has historically sent more engineering students abroad to completesponsored interdisciplinary work than any other school in the United States (Vaz, Mello,Dibiasio, 2011). This study seeks to expand upon Fosmire and Radcliff’s (2013) work onInformation-Rich Engineering Design (I-RED) in that the projects analyzed do not fall withintraditional engineering design parameters, but are more broadly projects completed by studentsboth of engineering and of other STEM disciplines. All projects have the following in common:1) they connect technology with human need, 2) they are team projects awarded the institute’sprestigious President’s Award for best project completed between 2003 and 2013. Fifty eightprojects are reviewed and analyzed to understand the nature, quantity, and quality of informationgathered for project reports. Methods of instruction in information seeking, and criteria forawards are reported and discussed. Future work may consist of analyzing a broader sample ofprojects, gathering feedback from past students, or expanding the study to understand practicesand project results at other institutions. Citation analysis and faculty survey data provideevidence to suggest that the institute’s librarians play a critical role in the education of studentscompleting complex service-learning or project based learning (PBL) assignments, enablingstudents to develop information seeking skills that are critical to the achievement of learningoutcomes understood by ABET and other accreditation bodies to be a critical piece of thelearning process both during college and beyond.Vaz, R. F., Mello, N. A., & Dibiasio, D. (2011). Global citizenship: students solving realproblems around the world. In G. Tryggvason & D. Apelian (Eds.) Shaping Our World:Engineering Education for the 21st Century, 78.Denick, D., Bhatt, J., & Layton, B.E. “Citation analysis of engineering design reports forinformation literacy assessment”, Proceedings of the 2010 American Society for EngineeringEducation Annual Conference & ExpositionFosmire, M., & Radcliffe, D. (Eds.). (2013). Integrating Information Into the EngineeringDesign Process. Purdue University Press.

Hanlan, L. R., & Riley, E. M. (2015, June), Information Use by Undergraduate STEM Teams Engaged in Global Project-Based Learning Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24300

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