Maura Borrego is an assistant professor of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. Dr. Borrego holds an M.S. and Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from Stanford University. Her current research interests center around interdisciplinary collaboration in engineering and engineering education. Funded by her CAREER grant, she also studies interdisciplinarity in engineering graduate programs nationwide.
Quantitative, Qualitative, and Mixed Research Methods in Engineering Education
Version of Record online: 2 JAN 2013
2009 American Society for Engineering Education
Journal of Engineering Education
Volume 98, Issue 1, pages 53–66, January 2009
How to Cite
Borrego, M., Douglas, E. P. and Amelink, C. T. (2009), Quantitative, Qualitative, and Mixed Research Methods in Engineering Education. Journal of Engineering Education, 98: 53–66. doi: 10.1002/j.2168-9830.2009.tb01005.x
- Issue online: 2 JAN 2013
- Version of Record online: 2 JAN 2013
- mixed-methods research
The purpose of this research review is to open dialog about quantitative, qualitative, and mixed research methods in engineering education research. Our position is that no particular method is privileged over any other. Rather, the choice must be driven by the research questions. For each approach we offer a definition, aims, appropriate research questions, evaluation criteria, and examples from the Journal of Engineering Education. Then, we present empirical results from a prestigious international conference on engineering education research. Participants expressed disappointment in the low representation of qualitative studies; nonetheless, there appeared to be a strong preference for quantitative methods, particularly classroom-based experiments. Given the wide variety of issues still to be explored within engineering education, we expect that quantitative, qualitative, and mixed approaches will be essential in the future. We encourage readers to further investigate alternate research methods by accessing some of our sources and collaborating across education/social science and engineering disciplinary boundaries.