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Engineering Education Inquiry


Credit Hours:


Learning Objective:

The course is an introduction to engineering education research and its main goal is to introduce students to engineering education research. The course is designed in alignment with the following goals and objectives:
  1. Engage in professional and ethical conduct of engineering education research
    1. Define research as a form of argument with claims and evidence
    2. Recognize ethical considerations in various aspects of research such as its design, authorship, and citation
    3. Use appropriate (basic and advanced) library resources to locate literature and reports
    4. Acknowledge and document citations and references in APA format
    5. Engage in scholarly critique (of work written by scholars or peers) in a constructive and professional manner
  2. Craft arguments from evidence
    1. Write effective titles, abstracts, and keywords
    2. Identify variations in arguments associated with different components of research articles
    3. Synthesize existing literature in a systematic way to craft arguments on the state of research in a specific area
    4. Describe differences between narrative reviews and systematic reviews
    5. Present ideas and arguments succinctly and clearly
  3. Explore repertoire of research methodologies used in engineering education
    1. Recognize the need for different methodologies
    2. Compare a range of research methodologies by explaining variations in research methods (sampling, data collection, analysis) and purpose
    3. Identify different philosophical foundations that are typically associated with specific research methodologies
    4. Acknowledge the role of the researcher in research
    5. Recognize the role of theoretical and conceptual frameworks in research
    6. Distinguish quality criteria associated with qualitative, quantitative, or mixed research methods


This graduate level course on inquiry in Engineering Education aims to introduce students to research in engineering education. This course covers a survey of educational research methodologies as well as strategies for locating, documenting, and critically reading literature for the purpose of crafting arguments from evidence. In this course, students will engage in professional and ethical conduct of research through readings, videos, discussions and assignments; define and practice research as crafting arguments from evidence; and 3) explore a rich repertoire of research methodologies used in engineering education. Research literature in engineering education will be analyzed and synthesized to form arguments from evidence while recognizing multiple paradigmatic lenses including positivist, post-positivist, post-modernist, constructivist, and critical theory. Qualitative, quantitative, mixed approaches will be compared in alignment with contemporary academic thought and ways they reveal the complexity of phenomena under study. This course is one of the required core courses for the graduate degree in Engineering Education at Purdue University.

Topics Covered:

Module 1: Introduction to research
Module 2: Qualitative research methods
Module 3: Quantitative research methods
Module 4: Making arguments with research


Applied / Theory:

50 / 50

Web Address:

Web Content:

Syllabus, Grades, Lecture Notes, Homework Assignments, Message Board


All homework will be accepted through Brightspace.


There will be one major assignment, a systematized literature review (SLR, with six milestones spread throughout the entire course). The assignment will be on an engineering education topic of your choosing and involve reading, analyzing, and synthesizing published literature to form an argument answering a research question on the current state of research. The assignment has multiple components: IRB certification: A requirement of the Graduate College is completion of the following Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) training. You are required to complete the following training:
  • Responsible Conduct of Research
  • Social and Behavior Research Investigators and Key Personnel (Basic Course)
5-minute idea pitch (introduce topic, initial search numbers, pl.ans to delimit search and justification)
3 drafts of the SLR paper
Final (SLR) paper
The assignment will also involve:
  • 3 peer feedback (one for pitch & two for draft papers)
  • Cover letters
  • Response to feedback


There is a take-home exam at the end of the semester.


All readings will be available through Purdue Libraries

Computer Requirements:

ProEd Minimum Computer Requirements. On-line conferencing and collaboration software as well as software to facilitate video-recording and sharing will be needed.

Other Requirements:

A typical week of activities prior to class include: building background with course readings; engaging in a mini assignment that will typically be hands-on and collaborative; sharing the outcome of mini or major assignment with peers; and commenting (reviewing the work of peers, asking questions, reflecting, and discussing). During class, we will spend our time this typical schedule. Additionally, the course will culminate in a final project, a Systematized Literature Review.

ProEd Minimum Requirements: