Development and implementation of quantitative methods to study instructional practices in engineering programs

Sarah Elizabeth Zappe, Kirsten S. Hochstedt, Dan Merson, Lindsey Schrott, Thomas Litzinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Government agencies and professional organizations are calling for changes in engineering, science and math education. In response to these calls for change, engineering education scholars are undertaking a variety of investigations of change within engineering education, including studies of instructional practices and the factors that influence choice of instructional practices. This paper provides a detailed description of the development and implementation of three quantitative methods to characterize instructional practices within engineering undergraduate programs. The three methods are: analysis of course syllabi, a student survey, and a faculty survey. For each method, the development and implementation processes are described including major challenges that were encountered and how they were addressed. Data are presented for one program in order to illustrate the types of results that are derived from each method and the types of conclusions that can be drawn from the combined data set. The overall goal of the paper is to provide sufficient detail to allow other engineering programs to adapt, or adopt, the methods to undertake studies of instructional practices. The coding scheme for the syllabi analysis and copies of the items used in the student and faculty surveys are included in appendices of the paper.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1942-1959
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Engineering Education
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • General Engineering


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