NSF EEC-PECASE: A Quality Framework for Interpretive Engineering Education Research (NSF #1150668)

Project’s NSF Page

NSF Project Outcomes Page


Joachim Walther, Ph.D. - EETI Founding Director, Professor of Engineering Education
Nicola Sochacka, Ph.D. - Former EETI Associate Director for Research Initiation and Enablement

Grant Details

Funder: Directorate for Education and Human Resources, National Science Foundation
Award number: 1150668
Start and End date: January 2012 – September 2017


This engineering education research initiation grant seeks to combine elements of the total quality management (TQM) movement from engineering with a framework for evaluating qualitative research that will be developed during the project. There is a need to be able to judge the results of qualitative research; this project will help achieve this goal. Additionally having a clearly delineated framework that draws from language familiar to engineers may help make qualitative research results easier to translate between research communities.

The broader significance and importance of this project lie primarily in building networks and capacity for research as well as being able to more broadly communicate research results. The proposed framework, if widely accepted, may serve in the education of graduate students. Additionally improving qualitative research techniques will help in studies of equity issues with under-represented groups in engineering. This project overlaps with NSF’s strategic goals of transforming the frontiers by making investments that lead to emerging new fields of engineering, or shifting existing fields. Additionally NSF’s goal of innovating for society is enabled by supporting the development of innovative learning systems.


Sochacka, N. W., Walther, J., & Pawley, A. L. (2018). Ethical Validation: Reframing Research Ethics in Engineering Education Research to Improve Research Quality. Journal of Engineering Education, 107(3), 362-379. doi: doi:10.1002/jee.20222

Walther, J., Sochacka, N. W., Benson, L. C., Bumbaco, A. E., Kellam, N., Pawley, A. L., & Phillips, C. M. L. (2017). Qualitative research quality: A collaborative inquiry across multiple methodological perspectives. Journal of Engineering Education, 106(3), 398-430. doi: 10.1002/jee.20170

Walther, J., Sochacka, N. W., & Pawley, A. L. (2016). Data sharing in interpretive engineering education research: Challenges and opportunities from a research quality perspective. Advances in Engineering Education, 5(2), 1-16.

Walther, J. (2014). Understanding Fundamental Assumptions Underlying Interpretive Educational Research through the Lens of a Cultural ‘Verfremdungseffekt’. Journal of Engineering Education, 103(3), 450-462. doi: 10.1002/jee.20053.

Walther, J., Sochacka, N. W., & Kellam, N. N. (2013). Quality in Interpretive Engineering Education Research: Reflections on an Example Study. Journal of Engineering Education, 102(4), 626-659. doi: 10.1002/jee.20029

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