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On The Structuring Of The Graduate Engineering Disquisition

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

New Trends in Engineering Graduate Education

Tagged Division

Graduate Studies

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.971.1 - 11.971.14



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Paper Authors

author page

David Wells North Dakota State University

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

intellectualizing elements can be seamlessly woven into the conduct of design-focused research work and, thus, can flow smoothly into the disquisition.

A Model for the Engineering Disquisition: The author supervises a large number of engineering graduate students in both masters and doctoral study. During calendar 2005, for example, this roster included two students pursuing the PhD in Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering and twelve seeking the MS in Manufacturing Engineering, Industrial Engineering and Management or Mechanical Engineering. Four MS degrees were produced during this calendar year, and two additional students successfully defended and are completing the final thesis re-writes during early 2006. At the time of this writing, two additional MS degrees are expected to complete in the Spring semester.

In order to achieve a modicum of efficiency in instructing a relatively large roster of graduate students, the author devised and adopted a written set of guidelines for graduate student disquisitions. In turn, the fixed structure for the disquisition guides the entire research process. The guidelines provide a platform for inclusion of critical elements of engineering graduate study and its documentation: intellectual foundation, discovery and application.

These guidelines are the result of reflection on several decades of engineering practice and teaching, rather than emerging from concentrated study of techniques employed by others. Reference to published work is implicit, rather than explicit. The document reflects classical engineering problem-solving procedure, recognizable design methodology and the ‘engineering method’. This guidelines structure was introduced to the author’s roster of students in mid-2004 and is now used by every graduate student under supervision, in whatever discipline.

The following section is a verbatim reproduction of the disquisition guidelines. It is presented in this form in order to offer the full flavor of the guidance followed in supervising graduate research projects. While there are several references to explicit sources on the author’s campus, these could readily be converted to companion services available on virtually any campus in the United States.

Guidelines for Preparing Theses and Dissertations A thesis or dissertation (disquisition) is a complete and comprehensive document that demonstrates scholarship, original thought and effective communication. While there may be occasional variations, the disquisition will most often contain eight chapters: 1. Introduction 2. Display of the relevant body of knowledge 3. Definition of the problem to be solved in the work 4. Analysis 5. Synthesis of a solution to the problem being addressed 6. Validation of the designed solution 7. Conclusions and assessment of the utility of the work 8. Discussion of future directions for similar research

These chapters will always be followed by a comprehensive bibliography, presented in an engineering format (as opposed to one favored, for example, by the Modern Language

Wells, D. (2006, June), On The Structuring Of The Graduate Engineering Disquisition Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--9

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