Epistemic Practices of Engineering for Education

Christine M. Cunningham, Gregor Y.J. Kelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

170 Scopus citations


Engineering offers new educational opportunities for students, yet also poses challenges about how to conceptualize the disciplinary core ideas, crosscutting concepts, and science and engineering practices of the disciplinary fields of engineering. In this paper, we draw from empirical studies of engineering in professional and school settings to propose a set of epistemic practices of engineering that can inform curriculum development, teacher education, and research in science and engineering education. We examine the ways that these practices emerge from the work of engineering and serve to guide problem solving across a range of engineering fields. The proposed epistemic practices for education take into consideration social contexts of engineering, the salience of evidence for decision making, the types of tools and strategies used to construct knowledge, and need for creativity and innovation. The article concludes with suggestions for research in engineering education.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)486-505
Number of pages20
JournalScience Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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