Investigating mechanical engineering students’ approaches to opportunity recognition process

Prateek Shekhar, Heydi Dominguez, Jin Woo Lee, Samantha Augustin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The process of opportunity recognition is pivotal to engineering design, fostering technological innovation and entrepreneurship. Although there are multiple studies conducted in the area of opportunity recognition studying the behaviors of entrepreneurs, examining engineering students’ approaches have been underexplored. There is a lack of research in regards to opportunity recognition processes among engineering students, particularly in the context of design education. The presented study addresses this gap by qualitatively examining approaches to opportunity recognition among mechanical engineering students enrolled in an engineering design course. Using a sample of 23 mechanical engineering students, the approaches to opportunity recognition were analyzed using students’ responses to open-ended survey questions and student group discussions. From the analysis of the qualitative data, four key themes emerged regarding the improvement of the device and process, user consideration, environmental sustainability, and information and resources accessed by students. The findings provide a deeper understanding that can be used to inform educational practices and further research in the area of opportunity recognition in engineering education settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-62
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Mechanical Engineering Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Mechanical Engineering


  • Engineering education
  • design
  • entrepreneurship
  • opportunity recognition


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