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Investigating Engineering Student Estimation Processes: A Pilot Study

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

What's New in Engineering Economy

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.789.1 - 8.789.7



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Paper Authors

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Justin Chimka

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Alisha Youngblood

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Heather Nachtmann

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

Session 2139

Investigating Engineering Student Estimation Processes

Heather Nachtmann, Justin R. Chimka, Alisha D. Youngblood University of Arkansas


Education-related engineering economy research focuses on solution methodology and lacks an emphasis on data modeling and estimation. Estimation of cash flows is a vital component of engineering economic analysis and should be effectively taught to undergraduate engineers. The first step in investigating estimation pedagogy is to study and document the estimation processes of engineering students. This paper describes ongoing research focused on collection and documentation of engineering student estimation processes, including description of data collection materials, methodology, and preliminary results. The long-term goal of this research is to develop educational materials to improve estimation pedagogy for undergraduate engineering students. This paper imparts a continuation of work presented to the Engineering Economy Division at the 2002 ASEE Conference.


This research was introduced at the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition (Nachtmann and Lehrman, 2002). This paper presents results from a pilot study investigating engineering student estimation processes. Engineers are frequently called upon to provide estimates in order to facilitate decision analysis. Formal estimation instruction, if any, that engineering students receive prior to entering the workforce takes place within the engineering economy classroom. The Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET) for undergraduate engineering programs has defined a set of outcomes that these programs must demonstrate that their graduates have achieved. One of these outcomes (b) requires the ability to analyze and interpret data within the design and conduct of experiments, which frequently requires an awareness of and capability in estimation. This coupled with the importance of preparing students for the challenges of real world analysis (Bordogna, et al., 1993; ASEE, 1994; National Science Foundation, 1995; National Research Council, 1995), such as data collection and estimation, provide the motivation for this research. The fact that an effective estimation curriculum does not currently exist has been acknowledged (Moore, 1997; Goyal, et al. 1997) along with recognition of the challenge of developing effective estimation pedagogy (Goyal, et al, 1997). Until now, education-related engineering economy research has focused on solution methodology and lacks an emphasis on data modeling and estimation.

Our research goals are to understand engineering student estimation processes and develop educational materials to improve engineering estimation pedagogy. The research phases (as shown in Exhibit 1) include:

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Chimka, J., & Youngblood, A., & Nachtmann, H. (2003, June), Investigating Engineering Student Estimation Processes: A Pilot Study Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12073

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2003 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015