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More Comprehensive and Inclusive Approaches to Demographic Data Collection

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Conference

2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016

ISBN

978-0-692-68565-5

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Research Methods II: Meeting the Challenges of Engineering Education Research

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

23

DOI

10.18260/p.25751

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/25751

Download Count

146

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Paper Authors

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Todd Fernandez Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Todd is a PhD Student in Engineering Education at Purdue University who's research is focused on entrepreneurship education and entrepreneurship education as a component of modern engineering education efforts.

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Allison Godwin Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-0741-3356

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Allison Godwin, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Engineering Education at Purdue University. Her research focuses what factors influence diverse students to choose engineering and stay in engineering through their careers and how different experiences within the practice and culture of engineering foster or hinder belongingness and identity development. Dr. Godwin graduated from Clemson University with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and Ph.D. in Engineering and Science Education. She is the recipient of a 2014 American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Educational Research and Methods Division Apprentice Faculty Grant. She also was an NSF Graduate Research Fellow for her work on female empowerment in engineering which won the National Association for Research in Science Teaching 2015 Outstanding Doctoral Research Award.

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Jacqueline Doyle Florida International University

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Dina Verdín Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/https://0000-0002-6048-1104

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Dina Verdín is an Engineering Education graduate student at Purdue University. She completed her undergraduate degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering at San José State University. Her research interest focuses on the first-generation college student population, which includes changing the perspective of this population from a deficit base approach to an asset base approach.

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Hank Boone University of Nevada - Reno

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Hank Boone is a Graduate Research Assistant and Masters Student at the University of Nevada, Reno. His research focuses on First Generation engineering college students' engineering identity, belongingness, and how they perceive their college experience.He is also on a National Science Foundation project looking at non-normative engineering students and how they may have differing paths to success. His education includes a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from University of Nevada, Reno.

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Adam Kirn University of Nevada - Reno

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Adam Kirn is an Assistant Professor of Engineering Education at University of Nevada, Reno. His research focuses on the interactions between engineering cultures, student motivation, and their learning experiences. His projects involve the study of student perceptions, beliefs and attitudes towards becoming engineers, their problem solving processes, and cultural fit. His education includes a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, a M.S. in Bioengineering and Ph.D. in Engineering and Science Education from Clemson University.

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Lisa Benson Clemson University

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Lisa Benson is an Associate Professor of Engineering and Science Education at Clemson University, with a joint appointment in Bioengineering. Her research focuses on the interactions between student motivation and their learning experiences. Her projects involve the study of student perceptions, beliefs and attitudes towards becoming engineers and scientists, and their problem solving processes. Other projects in the Benson group include effects of student-centered active learning, self-regulated learning, and incorporating engineering into secondary science and mathematics classrooms. Her education includes 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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Geoff Potvin Florida International University

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Abstract

In this evidence-based practice paper, we discuss ways for researchers and educators to more sensitively, accurately, and effectively collect demographic information on surveys. Identifying variables that capture diversity more broadly is vital in understanding the variety of ways in which students participate in and experiencing engineering education. We frame this discussion through publically available statistics that suggest the potential error in common approaches employed for demographic collection. While basic questions about participants’ sex and ethnicity are standard items in assessment and data collection, these questions only develop a limited representation and potentially present an inaccurate accounting of students’ social identities and honest self-expression. Classic demographic measurement approaches classify students on broad, general, and historically driven elements of diversity typically defined by others rather than individual students. Unfortunately, simply asking a participant to self-identify their gender dichotomously or select from a pre-defined set of ethnicity options has the potential to record information that does not completely or accurately represent a student’s self-identified characteristics or a researchers latent purpose. Alternatively, asking questions via simple open-ended queries both maintains any problem represented in the phrasing of the question as well as presents a major loss in efficiency by requiring a post-collection coding step. In this paper we discuss three major topics through reviews of literature, emergent cultural norms, and suggestions for better practices. First, we will cover the framing of demographic questions to gather the intended information (i.e., differentiating how the student experiences the world and how the world experiences the student). Second, we address ordering of demographic questions and the extended capability provided by modern online collection tools. Finally, using the lessons of parts one and two we offer some examples of improved ways of collecting a variety of demographic information such as gender identity, ethnicity, language, sexual orientation, disability status, and socioeconomic status. The examples will show how researchers can be more sensitive to issues of diversity while at the same time improving research quality.

Fernandez, T., & Godwin, A., & Doyle, J., & Verdín, D., & Boone, H., & Kirn, A., & Benson, L., & Potvin, G. (2016, June), More Comprehensive and Inclusive Approaches to Demographic Data Collection Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25751

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: © 2016 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