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Linking Senior Design Projects To Research Projects

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Programmatic Issues in Physics or Engineering Phys

Tagged Division

Engineering Physics & Physics

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.845.1 - 15.845.8



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Paper Authors

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Evan Lemley University of Central Oklahoma

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Baha Jassemnejad University of Central Oklahoma

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Matthew Mounce US Navy

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Jamie Weber Parsons

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Sudarshan Rai Unknown

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Willy Duffle University of Central Oklahoma

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Jesse Haubrich University of Central Oklahoma

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



Senior design projects form an important capstone for most engineering disciplines and must consist of the realistic application of the engineering design process. Some senior engineering students would like the opportunity to participate in research projects, but cannot give the time to perform research and participate in a senior design project. The authors have served as either faculty or students in combined research and design projects for several years, and have made several observations about this combined approach.

Many research projects offer the opportunity to perform engineering design although recognition of this fact is sometimes overlooked by faculty. Some general cases where design may be needed in a research problem include: design of an experimental system, engineering software design, and design of a process to manufacture experimental test pieces. Once a design aspect of a research project has been identified, the faculty member that will oversee the design project should carefully consider how the project will require the design process, whether multiple alternative designs will be considered, and in what way will the project satisfy multiple realistic constraints. Students in the design group may already be working on the research project and it has to be clear to these students that they will be doing two projects: the research project and the design project. Use of a design proposal that is signed by the faculty member and students can aid in making sure that all involved, faculty and students, know how the project will meet the research program's and ABET's expectations in terms of design.

Our experiences with combined research / senior design projects are discussed in this paper.


This paper is focused on the use of engineering and physics research-related problems used as senior capstone engineering design projects. Capstone design projects must be focused on design and hence are often viewed as incompatible with research projects, which may be discovery rather than design-oriented and without concrete deliverables. In many cases, however, it is possible to find a design-related problem for an engineering or physics research project.

The Engineering and Physics Department (EPD) at the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO) has been using research-related design projects to satisfy requirements for a Senior Engineering Design course for several years. There are two engineering programs at UCO: Biomedical Engineering and Engineering Physics. These programs are recent and developed from a physics program. The programs by their nature are interdisciplinary and have a tradition of sending students to graduate school and to industry. Participation of undergraduates in research-related projects has been common at UCO. It is very difficult for students to complete course

Lemley, E., & Jassemnejad, B., & Mounce, M., & Weber, J., & Rai, S., & Duffle, W., & Haubrich, J. (2010, June), Linking Senior Design Projects To Research Projects Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16764

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