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The Role of Information-Gathering on Students’ Satisfaction in Engineering Majors

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2023 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Baltimore , Maryland

Publication Date

June 25, 2023

Start Date

June 25, 2023

End Date

June 28, 2023

Conference Session

Promoting Well-Being in Engineering Education: Strategies and Perspectives

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods Division (ERM)

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Paper Authors


Haleh Barmaki Brotherton Clemson University Orcid 16x16

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Haleh Barmaki Brotherton is a graduate student in the Department of Engineering and Science Education at Clemson University. Her research interests include perfectionism, self-regulation, and decision-making. She earned her BS and MS from Middle East Tech

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Marisa K. Orr Clemson University Orcid 16x16

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Marisa K. Orr is an Associate Professor in Engineering and Science Education with a joint appointment in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Clemson University.

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The Role of Information-Gathering on Students’ Satisfaction in Engineering Majors

This research paper focuses on the decision-making processes of undergraduate students in engineering. We explore how Information Gathering behaviors relate to students’ academic satisfaction with their engineering major. The Self-Regulation Model of Decision-Making (SRMDM) encompasses three phases of Generation, Evaluation, and Learning, each influenced by Moderating Factors. Our focus is on Information Gathering, which happens as a decision-maker iterates between generating ideas and evaluating them. We hypothesize that self-regulated decision-making behaviors will lead a student to be more satisfied with their Engineering major choice. A competing theory is the theory of Maximizing Tendency where the maximizer decision-maker seeks to find the best option among available information that results in being less happy compared to satisficers who just look for ‘good-enough’ options. This research questions the association between Information Gathering and Satisfaction in Engineering. The sample for this study is 724 primarily first-year students in Engineering at Clemson University. Measures used include a five-item Information Gathering scale from the Multi-dimensional Inventory of Decision-making Competency (MIDC) and a five-item Academic Satisfaction scale adapted for Engineering. This finding provides support for the SRMDM-based hypothesis that Information Gathering behavior may lead to increased Satisfaction in Engineering, so advisors/institutions are encouraged to support this process.

Brotherton, H. B., & Orr, M. K. (2023, June), The Role of Information-Gathering on Students’ Satisfaction in Engineering Majors Paper presented at 2023 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Baltimore , Maryland. 10.18260/1-2--44482

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