June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
Engineers play a vital role in our past, present, and future. As future engineers enroll in universities every year, it is of importance to understand why they select engineering and to build of those reasons to promote the engineering profession. In the current study, we focused on understanding why first year students selected engineering as their major, rather than focusing simply on all first-year students. We designed the current study to qualitatively examine students’ self-reported reasons for choosing an engineering major. Data were drawn from a larger study on first year engineering students at a large, Midwestern university. In 2013, 612 students (89% response rate) completed a survey about their beliefs and attitudes regarding engineering during their first week of the fall semester; of those students, 72% (n = 436) were first time, full-time freshmen. Data for qualitative analysis were taken from one question (“What influenced your decision to study engineering?”). Of the 436 students who completed the survey, 390 students provided open-ended responses that were coded using constant comparative methods. The top three reasons for selecting an engineering major included expressing an interest in the subject matter (n = 104, 26.7%), being influenced by family (n=77, 19.7%), and prior experience (e.g., engineering program, etc.) (n = 68, 17.4%). Overall, these findings provide insight into engineering students’ self-reported reasons for choosing engineering. This information allows engineering faculty to target these areas for recruiting future engineering students. This information could also guide the trajectory in which the students and faculty decide on for the success of the student, department, university, and the field.
Painter, J. K., & Snyder, K. E., & Ralston, P. A. (2017, June), Why Engineering? Students' Reasons for Choosing an Engineering Major Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/29126
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