Collaborative Research:Research: Advancing Engineering Education Research through Peer Review Analysis

Project: Research project

Project Details


Questions about how knowledge is socially constructed and how boundary work shapes the development of a scientific field are of central importance to the development and growth of any field. Peer review is a key site of social construction of knowledge and micropolitics of knowledge production. It serves as a gateway for new knowledge to become part of a field. As an emerging and interdisciplinary field, engineering education research presents a valuable, and timely, opportunity to learn about processes of disciplinary development, and to better understand the micropolitics of peer review in an emerging and interdisciplinary field. Moreover, in engineering education research, the boundaries of the field can have implications for insights that ultimately influence engineering education practices. As a relatively new field, it has been noted that engineering education research remains underdeveloped in some regards, including inclusion of theoretical and methodological approaches from social science fields. However, little research has been done to identify how the boundaries of the field are established and maintained. This study is the first investigation of a large group of engineering education researchers' peer review experiences and editors' perspectives.

The research objective of this project is to identify research normativities and values shaping the emerging field of engineering education research through the peer review processes. The intervention objective of this project is to develop and implement materials targeted to engineering education researchers so that they better understand their field and how it can be advanced in new directions. In-depth qualitative interviews are being conducted with 40 authors and at least 5 editors of the Journal of Engineering Education. Authors include those who have had articles published and those who have had articles rejected, as well as those who fall into both categories. The interviews explore participants' peer review experiences and beliefs about the field's boundaries. Emergent patterns in experiences and beliefs will be used to identify theoretical, methodological, epistemological, and topical normativities that shape the field. These patterns provide new insights into engineering education research, specifically, its dominant values, boundaries, and levels of interdisciplinarity, thus also providing new insights into the social construction of knowledge in an emerging, interdisciplinary field. Based on findings from the interviews, stakeholder-specific workshops are being conducted for different groups: current and future engineering education researchers. These workshops and associated materials are designed to help the engineering education research community critically reflect on and advance the field.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

Effective start/end date8/1/187/31/22


  • National Science Foundation: $181,661.00


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.