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Interactions Between Engineering Student Researcher Identity and Epistemic Thinking

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Conference

2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

NSF Grantees: Identity

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count

10

DOI

10.18260/1-2--34858

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/34858

Download Count

57

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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, and the Editor of the Journal of Engineering Education. Her research focuses on the interactions between student motivation and their learning experiences. Her projects focus on student perceptions, beliefs and attitudes towards becoming engineers and scientists, development of problem solving skills, self-regulated learning, and epistemic beliefs. She earned 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 at Knoxville

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Courtney is a Research Assistant Professor and Lecturer in the Cook Grand Challenge 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, and researcher identity.

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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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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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Karina Sylvia Sobieraj Ohio State University

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I am a third year Biological Engineering Student pursuing a minor in Biomedical Engineering. I am active in many clubs on campus including Make a Wish and the Society of Women Engineers and I am also an undergraduate researcher for en engineering education research group.

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Cazembe Kennedy Clemson University

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I am a PhD candidate working in the realm of computing education research. I also work extensively on Engineering and Science Education research, with focuses on engineering students’ researcher identities as well as epistemic argumentation in the field of biology. I have interest in Science Policy, specifically Science Education Policy, and have been working as a graduate research assistant to Clemson’s Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education on projects involving tracking and analyzing data on student engagement in high-impact practices, proposing and writing grants for joint faculty curricula development, and revamping Clemson’s general education requirements/curricula.

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Abstract

This paper describes a multi-phase, multi-institution project with the objectives of exploring how undergraduate engineering student researchers develop their researcher identities and build their engineering knowledge, and proposing effective practices that can be integrated into engineering courses and curricula. The first two project phases focused on quantitative and qualitative data collection to answer our overall research objectives, culminating with the development of a grounded-theory conceptual model, the Dynamic Researcher Identity and Epistemology Model (DRIEM). Elements of the DRIEM include research practices and social interactions (which in combination make up and are embedded in a research experience); knowledge of what research is, who researchers are and what a researcher does (which comprise students’ epistemic metacognitive knowledge); and elicited emotions such as excitement or boredom (which can mediate the connection between a student’s epistemic metacognitive knowledge and researcher identity). The DRIEM also represents how an individual’s researcher identity exists with, and is affected by, their multiple other identities and/or future self. The collaborative, iterative process of developing this model lead to identifying four propositions: 1) Researcher identity affects and is affected by reflection on research actions; 2) Researcher identity is fluid and can dissolve or solidify; 3) Researcher identity and interest in research are influenced by social contexts; and 4) Students’ researcher identity and perceptions of research are influenced by their initial dispositions and beliefs about researchers. We further refined the DRIEM and our textual description of it, and demonstrated its validity, by testing it with individual cases from our data.

The third and final phase of our project involved developing a workshop aimed at introducing engineering educators to the DRIEM and identifying ways to incorporate our research insights and findings into engineering courses and curricula. Since a course setting, similar to a research setting, requires students to participate in activities related to the testing, building, justifying, and disseminating of knowledge, we theorized that researcher identity and epistemic thinking can develop and shift in course environments as well as in UREs. We refer to this project phase as research-with-practice, wherein engineering educators were asked to identify ways to translate this model into their courses, and in turn provide insights into ways we can more effectively communicate and represent our research findings. Outcomes of these workshops include not only ideas for modifying teaching practices in ways that would promote students’ epistemic practices, but also ideas for refining our textual and visual descriptions of the DRIEM. Thus the workshops afforded opportunities for researchers and practitioners to co-construct idea ways to apply research findings, producing ideas that neither the researchers nor practitioners could have developed independently.

Our project poster will document our research processes and findings, including the development of our grounded theory model and ways that translating our research to practice allowed us to refine the way our model is visualized and explained.

Benson, L., & Faber, C. J., & Kajfez, R. L., & Kennedy, M. S., & Lee, D. M., & Sobieraj, K. S., & Kennedy, C. (2020, June), Interactions Between Engineering Student Researcher Identity and Epistemic Thinking Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34858

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