It's not what you think: A theory for understanding the lack of interest among domestic students in the engineering PhD

Michelle C.Howell Smith, Amanda L. Garrett, Ellen Weissinger, Namas Chandra

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

We live in a fast-paced world surrounded by technological advances. Engineers with advanced skills perform important functions in our society. However we know very little about how engineers consider obtaining advanced education and skills. The purpose of this study is to understand and develop a theory explaining the process domestic engineers undergo in developing an interest in obtaining a PhD in engineering. Our research was guided by the following central research question: What is the theory that explains the process of developing interest in doctoral-level engineering education for engineers? We used qualitative, grounded theory methods, to investigate the process of advanced engineering education interest. Interview data were collected from undergraduate engineering students, doctoral engineering students, engineering faculty, and engineers in industry with PhD degrees from seven institutional sites. Our theory explains that misperceptions, personal characteristics, and environmental elements are part of engineers' interest in advanced education. Engineers must be exposed to these factors and must also actively process this information to develop interest. This theory provides a framework for understanding and promoting doctoral education for engineers. Implications for educators are offered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication41st Annual Frontiers in Education Conference
Subtitle of host publicationCelebrating 41 Years of Monumental Innovations from Around the World, FIE 2011
DOIs
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes
Event41st Annual Frontiers in Education Conference: Celebrating 41 Years of Monumental Innovations from Around the World, FIE 2011 - Rapid City, SD, United States
Duration: Oct 12 2011Nov 15 2011

Publication series

NameProceedings - Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE
ISSN (Print)1539-4565

Other

Other41st Annual Frontiers in Education Conference: Celebrating 41 Years of Monumental Innovations from Around the World, FIE 2011
CountryUnited States
CityRapid City, SD
Period10/12/1111/15/11

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications

Keywords

  • Domestic Students
  • Engineering PhDs
  • Qualitative Research

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