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Work in Progress: Novel Ethnographic Approaches for Investigating Engineering Practice

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Conference

2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Postgraduate Pathways and Experiences

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

9

DOI

10.18260/1-2--35672

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/35672

Download Count

247

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Paper Authors

biography

Brent K. Jesiek Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Dr. Brent K. Jesiek is an Associate Professor in the Schools of Engineering Education and Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University. He also leads the Global Engineering Education Collaboratory (GEEC) research group, and received an NSF CAREER award to study boundary-spanning roles and competencies among early career engineers. He holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Michigan Tech and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Science and Technology Studies (STS) from Virginia Tech. Dr. Jesiek draws on expertise from engineering, computing, and the social sciences to advance understanding of geographic, disciplinary, and historical variations in engineering education and practice.

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Aditya Johri George Mason University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-9018-7574

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Aditya Johri is Professor of Information Sciences and Technology at George Mason University where he also directs the Engineering Education and Cyberlearning Laboratory (EECL). Dr. Johri studies the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) for learning and knowledge sharing, with a focus on cognition in informal environments. He received the U.S. National Science Foundation’s Early Career Award in 2009. He is co-editor of the Cambridge Handbook of Engineering Education Research (CHEER) published by Cambridge University Press, New York, NY. Dr. Johri earned his Ph.D. in Learning Sciences and Technology Design at Stanford University and a B.Eng. in Mechanical Engineering at Delhi College of Engineering.

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Cory Brozina Youngstown State University

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Dr. Cory Brozina is an assistant professor and the Director of First Year Engineering at Youngstown State University. He completed his B.S. and M.S. in Industrial & Systems Engineering from Virginia Tech, and his PhD is in Engineering Education, also from Virginia Tech. His research interests include: Student Support and Success, Learning Analytics, First-Year Engineering, and Assessment.

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Russell Korte George Washington University

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Russell Korte is an Associate Professor of Human and Organizational Learning at The George Washington University. Korte studies the socio-cultural systems in the professions and organizations, along with the effects of these systems on learning and performance in school, business, and industry. This work specifically focuses on the professional socialization of engineering students, faculty, practicing engineers, medical students, as well as the entrepreneurial efforts of innovators to change organizations. Prior to GWU, Korte was at Colorado State University. Before that, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign he helped design and implement an innovative first year engineering program. Additional research interests include theory, philosophy, social science, workplace learning and performance, entrepreneurship, socialization, professional education, and organization studies.

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Abstract

This work-in-progress paper reports on the early phases of an exploratory research project involving use of innovative approaches to collecting, analyzing, and archiving empirical data related to engineering practice. More specifically, our project takes an ethnographic approach to studying technical teams at multiple field sites representing multiple industry sectors using novel methods such as agile ethnography, trace ethnography, and network ethnography. In contrast to traditional ethnographic studies that may involve long periods of participant observation, these new approaches often involve less intensive fieldwork, and are instead designed around more targeted research questions and other sources of evidence (e.g., social network data, documentary traces in digital systems). These methods are new and evolving, and therefore have scarcely been used to study engineering practice. Thus, one major goal of the paper is to introduce the proposed methods to the engineering education research community. In doing so, we explore the potential for these methods to generate research findings more rapidly and with a greater focus on specific problems and questions of interest to both industry and researchers. Such methods have gained traction in workplace settings precisely due to such advantages, especially in software engineering and related fields where work is already very digital and distributed in character. A second major goal of this paper is to give a brief progress report on the early stages of our study, including the initial groundwork carried out to gain access to, and begin collecting data at, multiple field sites. We expect this paper will appeal to scholars who study engineering practice, and those who are interested in contemporary innovations in ethnographic and other qualitative research methods.

Jesiek, B. K., & Johri, A., & Brozina, C., & Korte, R. (2020, June), Work in Progress: Novel Ethnographic Approaches for Investigating Engineering Practice Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35672

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