With recent calls for expanding the scope and rigor of engineering education research, use of qualitative methods to answer research questions that can not be answered through quantitative methods is taking on increasing significance. Well-designed qualitative studies often build on epistemological consistency across theoretical perspectives, research questions, and research methods. We examine recent articles published in the Journal of Engineering Education to determine the overall prevalence of qualitative articles and the extent to which they appear epistemologically and methodologically consistent with the goals of qualitative inquiry. We find that there are very few qualitative articles published, and even fewer which show epistemological consistency across different aspects of the research design. These issues may limit the rich, descriptive information that could be gained from qualitative inquiry, limiting the contributions qualitative studies could make to engineering education. We call on researchers to expand their use of qualitative methods and to design their studies with careful attention to epistemological consistency across the design.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||13|
|Journal||Journal of Engineering Education|
|State||Published - Apr 2008|
- Qualitative research
- Theoretical perspective
ASJC Scopus subject areas