ENE 503

Engineering Education Inquiry

Fall 2014

(3 credit hrs)

10:30 am – 1:20 pm, Tuesdays

Classroom: ARMS 1028


ᚢenay Purzer


Office: Wang 4545

Office hours: Wed. 4pm – 5pm or by appointment


This graduate level course is designed to bridge students’ previous knowledge of technical research and engineering education research. This link is made explicit through instruction, readings, and course assignments. The primary goals of the course are to assist students in developing their ability to: (1) craft strong academic arguments, (2) critique scholarly work in a professional manner, and (3) develop an identity as an engineering education researcher.  Course assessment and pedagogy are aligned with these three goals.


At the end of this class, students will be able to:

  • Develop strategies for locating and documenting engineering education research literature and reports
    • Use appropriate search engines and library resources
    • Acknowledge, reference, and document resources in organized ways
    • Accurately site references in APA format
  • Critique scholarly work in a professional manner:
    • Read, compare and evaluate published articles and reports
    • Review unpublished manuscripts in a critical and professional manner
    • Organize, analyze, synthesize existing literature
  • Develop identities as engineering education researchers:
    • Evaluate how well research approaches align with research questions in a given study
    • Be eligible to conduct education research via current IRB certification
    • Reflect on own learning and development as a researcher


The successful student will:

  • Deeply process the course material through reflection and discussion.
  • Complete all assigned activities by their respective due dates.
  • Seek feedback from the instructors and classmates on drafts of deliverables.


  • Class attendance and engagement, and contribution to team projects (10%)
    • Note: Please inform instructor for expected absences. Unexcused absences, being late, or not contributing to team projects will adversely affect your grade.
  • IRB certification (10%)
  • Manuscript Review (10%)
    • Written review (November 11)
  • Literature Synthesis (30%)
    • Presentation of Significance and Outline (October 7)
    • Final Paper (November 4)
    • (Optional) Revised Paper (December 2)
  • Presentation on Research Methodologies (20%)
    • List of methods readings shared with peers (November 11)
    • Presentation (November 18, 25 or  December 2)
  • Take Home Exam (20%) (Finals week)

Written assignments should be single-spaced, submitted as a pdf, and checked for spelling and grammar [electronically and manually!].  Your assignments should be prepared in a careful and scholarly manner, following formal writing practices.  I strongly recommend you have another person proof read your assignments before they are turned in.

Use American Psychological Association (APA) format for all references. See APA guidelines on the Purdue Online Writing Lab resource page found at http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/


  • Booth, W. C., Colomb, G.G. & Williams, J. M. (2008). The craft of research, Third edition. Series: (CGWEP) Chicago guides to writing, editing, and publishing. University of Chicago Press: Chicago.
  • Creswell, J. W. (2008). Educational research: Planning, conducting, and evaluating quantitative and qualitative Research. (Fourth edition) Prentice Hall: Upper Saddle River, N.J.

REQUIRED OTHER READINGS: (you can obtain these through Purdue libraries)

Use library guide for engineering education http://guides.lib.purdue.edu/ene503 as a resource (developed by Amy VanEpps)

  • Borrego, M.  (2007). Conceptual difficulties experienced by trained engineers learning educational research methods.  Journal of Engineering Education, 96 (2), 91-102.
  • Creamer, E. G., & Ghoston, M. (2013). Using a mixed methods content analysis to analyze mission statements from colleges of engineering. Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 7(2), 110-120.
  • Crede, E., & Borrego, M. (2013). From ethnography to items mixed methods approach to developing a survey to examine graduate engineering student retention. Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 7(1), 62-80.
  • Guba, E. G., & Lincoln, Y. S. (1994). Competing paradigms in qualitative research. Handbook of Qualitative Research II, 163-194.
  • Streveler, R. A. & Smith, K. A. (2006). Guest editorial: Conducting rigorous research in engineering education. Journal of Engineering Education, 95 (2), 103-105.
  • Streveler, R. A. & Smith, K. A. (2010). Guest editorial: From the margins to the mainstream: The emerging landscape of engineering education research. Journal of Engineering Education, 99 (4), 285-287.


Academic honesty requires that students do not cheat, or knowingly assist another to do so. Other unacceptable behavior includes plagiarism, which is the submitting of someone else's work as your own, and the unauthorized access to or changing of grades or examinations. Faculty consider the submitting/performing of essentially the same single piece of work for credit in different classes to be dishonest unless all faculty members involved have agreed, in advance, to the specific situation. <https://www.purdue.edu/odos/academic-integrity/>


If you are a person with special circumstances that you believe will affect your class performance (e.g., visual, hearing or learning disabilities or language differences) please let us know if we can make appropriate accommodations. 


Purdue University is committed to maintaining a community which recognizes and values the inherent worth and dignity of every person; fosters tolerance, sensitivity, understanding, and mutual respect among its members; and encourages each individual to strive to reach his or her own potential. In pursuit of its goal of academic excellence, the University seeks to develop and nurture diversity. The University believes that diversity among its many members strengthens the institution, stimulates creativity, promotes the exchange of ideas, and enriches campus life.


In the event of a major campus emergency (e.g., the A H1N1 virus), course requirements, deadlines and grading percentages are subject to changes that may be necessitated by a revised semester calendar or other circumstances. Consult the course Blackboard site for further information should a situation warrant such actions.

Class Schedule (version #1; 8/26/2014)




Readings Due

This Day

Deliverables Due This Day


Aug 26

Overview and introductions

Rigorous research in engineering education

What is in an abstract? What is in a title?




Sept 2

Many ways to read research articles

Principles of reviewing conference papers and journal manuscripts

  • Streveler & Smith (2006)
  • Streveler & Smith (2010)
  • Visit the IRB website and online CITI courses.


Sept 9

How to use the library and manage your citations

Guest Speaker (Amy Van Epps)

  • Creswell, Chapter 1 and 3


  • Prepare questions for the guest speaker about your specific literature search topic.
  • Bring your laptops to class for presentation on how to use the library.


Sept 16

What is literature synthesis?

Select a synthesis question (e.g., does solving open-ended design problems promote creativity? is there a relationship between how teachers assess and how much students learn?)

How to summarize an article? De-construction of a research study

What is “quality”?

  • Creswell Chapters 2 and 4
  • Craft of Research, Part II (focus on Ch. 5&6)


  • Bring 3 articles on the topic that was assigned on September 16


Sept 23

How to develop a data management protocol?

Guest Speaker Megan Sapp Nelson

  • Craft of Research, Part III
  • IRB certifications are due. Bring hardcopy of your certificate to class for collection.
  • Locate 8-10 additional articles on your topic


Sept 30

USDE/NSF meetings

Peer review and feedback (manuscript reviews)

[Choose methods presentation topic]

  • Craft of Research, Part IV
  • Creswell, Chapter 9 (Figures 9.6 and 9.7)




Oct 7

Literature Synthesis Presentations

  • Borrego (2007)



Oct 14

OCTOBER Break – No Class




Oct 21


[Frontiers in Education Conference]

Peer review of first drafts of literature review

  • Creswell, Chapters 5 and 7



Oct 28

Methods vs. Methodology

Mixed-Methods Research

  • Creswell, Chapter 16
  • Creamer & Ghoston (2013)
  • Crede & Borrego (2013)

Share one hardcopy of first draft literature review for peer feedback


Nov 4

Research ethics

IRB Guest Speaker (Kristine Hershberger) 12:20-1:20 PM

  • Craft of Research, pages 273- 276
  • Craft of Research,  Part I
  • Literature Synthesis is due
  • Prepare specific questions for the guest speaker from IRB


Nov 11

Team Time on Methodology Presentations

  • Experimental designs
  • Survey designs
  • Correlational designs
  • Grounded theory designs
  • Ethnographic designs
  • Narrative research designs
  • Action research designs
  • Content analysis designs
  • Phenomenography designs
  • Creswell, Chapters 6 and 8
  • Guba & Lincoln (1994)


  • Manuscript review is due
  • List of methods readings shared by peers


Nov 18

Methodology Presentations by Students



  • Readings assigned by peers
  • Creswell, Chapters 10-17

Methods presentations including handout


Nov 25

Thanksgiving Week

Methodology Presentations by Students

  • Readings assigned by peers
  • Creswell, Chapters 10-17

Methods presentations including handout


Dec 2

Methodology Presentations by Students

  • Readings assigned by peers
  • Creswell, Chapters 10-17

Methods presentations including handout


Dec 9

Closing comments and debrief





Finals Week



Take-Home Exam