April 27, 2021
Engineering education research has typically focused on researchers collecting new data, resulting in hundreds of data sets that have significant and as yet untapped potential to be analyzed beyond the focus of the original study. Given the significant public investment in these data sets, data sharing or secondary analysis has a transformative potential to produce insights that support large-scale changes in how we recruit, teach, and prepare engineering students for the demands and challenges of the 21st century.
Currently, however, engineering education researchers do not have productive and effective ways for sharing and analyzing data beyond the original project. This project will address that gap by developing and promoting a viable approach that will enable researchers to leverage the rich data currently available. In doing so, it will simultaneously improve engineering education nationally and increase the return on investment of public funds. The project will bring experienced researchers together with those just beginning their careers to identify the major roadblocks to sharing and re-using data, develop strategies and practices for overcoming those roadblocks, and conduct a series of test cases that demonstrate how to put those strategies and practices into action. To create this framework, the research team will hold a series of six workshops over two years. In the first year, we will bring highly respected, experienced researchers from institutions across the country together with newer researchers to create the initial framework for data sharing and data re-use. In the second year, we will test and refine that framework on two existing data sets. We will solicit data sets from the wider community, and invite teams of scholars to conduct secondary analysis on those data sets, in conversation with the original researchers.
The results will help create a paradigm shift that can move both the study and the practice of engineering education in the U.S. to a new level and spur the kind of sea changes needed to keep the nation’s engineering workforce at the forefront of the global marketplace.