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Student Participation In Field Research Project Choice And Evaluation

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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

EM Skills and Concepts in the Real World

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.1039.1 - 8.1039.9



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Paper Authors

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Charles Thompson

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

Session 3142

Student Participation in Field Research Project Choice and Evaluation

Charles W. N. Thompson

Northwestern University


Complementing courses which teach theory and practice of management of engineering organizations are courses which provide the student with an opportunity to examine or test these teachings through designing and carrying out (at least) pilot tests in real organizations. Choice of projects and evaluation of the students' design efforts by the instructor assures that both the subject matter and the methods to be employed maximize the objectives of the course.

Student choice and student evaluation, while increasing the interest and motivation of the student, present potentially greater risks in attaining course objectives. For individual projects, there is the added problem of an unpredictably wide variety of choices. This paper reports the results of progressively encouraging student participation in both of these areas.

The paper is based upon over thirty years of teaching undergraduate and graduate field research courses.


The focus of this paper is one of many teaching techniques, the use of field projects, and a particular type of project, applying the methodology of field research to testing an a priori hypothesis concerning the management of technology. This is a long established practice, particularly in the training of doctoral students who will be studying the management of real engineering organizations, although it is underreported in the current periodical literature. The usefulness of this technique to practicing engineers and engineering managers, as distinguished from researchers, will be discussed as a basis for justifying its application to undergraduate engineering students who may have no present interest in a career in research. Particular attention will be given to two evolving areas: student choice of projects; student critiquing of projects.

No justification is required for the choice of projects by the instructor; from experience, the instructor can assure that the projects are suitable for the application of the syllabus theory and methodology teachings, and this facilitates both economies in preparation and building on prior

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

Thompson, C. (2003, June), Student Participation In Field Research Project Choice And Evaluation Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12147

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