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Research Questions

Here is a summary of our three core questions:

RESEARCH QUESTION 1 - PROGRAM MODELS

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What are current models of educating engineers for entrepreneurship/entrepreneurial thinking?

In this research, the unit of analysis is the entrepreneurship program, and the focus is on programmatic contexts for entrepreneurship learning. This mixed-methods research builds on the work of Standish-Kuon and Rice (2002), Shartrand et al. (2010), Besterfield-Sacre et al. (2011), and Duval-Couetil, Shartrand, and Reed (forthcoming).

See here for a link to our recent presentation on RQ1 at the OPEN 2014 conference in San Jose, CA.

RESEARCH QUESTION 2 - STUDENTS' INTERESTS AND GOALS

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What are undergraduate engineering students’ innovation and entrepreneurial interests, abilities, and achievements? How do these interests, abilities, and achievements change over time? Which educational and workplace environments/experiences influence the development of their innovation and entrepreneurial interests, abilities, and achievements?

Here the unit of analysis is the student, and the focus is on the development of student interests in innovation and entrepreneurship as measured by behaviors, attitudes, experiences, and career goals. This is conceived as a longitudinal, survey-based project that builds on the work of Damon and Lerner (2008), Eesley (2011), Duval-Couetil, Reed-Rhoads, and Haghighi (2012), among others. Our longitudinal survey will be launched in Winter 2015 to engineering students at upwards of 25 institutions across the U.S.

We also have been working with colleagues at Tufts University and Stanford University to analyze and compare engineering and business students’ entrepreneurial intentions as part of their Young Entrepreneurs Study (YES). This has resulted in one award-winning conference paper (see Jin et al.) and two journal manuscripts under review/in progress.

RESEARCH QUESTION 3 - CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT

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How can fundamental engineering curricula be reframed to stimulate integrative thinking, especially entrepreneurial thinking?

In this research, the unit of analysis is the technical engineering classroom (inclusive of faculty, students, and curricula), and the focus is on the process of entrepreneurship learning in the context of a statics course. This work draws from Kolb’s learning theory and studies of scenario-based learning experiences. This research has resulted in an award-winning conference paper (see Schar et al.) .

Initially tested at Stanford, the Scenario Based Learning techniques in this research are currently being rolled out and tested at University of Wisconsin (Madison) and UC-Merced.