Persistence and Passion: Do engineering students have GRIT?

My colleague and co-author, Dr. Inês Direito presented findings last week, of a systematic review we did with Manis Malik on how grit is being researched in engineering education. Inês culminated the line up of seven online keynotes for the Big EER Meet Up, held May 14th.

The title of the paper she presented is “The study of grit in engineering education research: A systematic literature review” and we paid upfront to allow you to download the article free of change.

Grit is defined as having two components–perseverance and passion. In the study Inês reported, we assessed the research design, results, and findings reported in 31 publications. All but two of these were conference papers; other two were journal articles. This in itself indicates the study of grit is relatively new in EER (engineering education research). EER studies to date suggest that perseverance is important for studying engineering, but they haven’t had much to say about the element of passion. Is this a problem of the instruments used to measure grit? Is it specific to engineering? Grit is a domain general construct, and perhaps the construct doesn’t exactly fit the engineering domain? Or, is passion not actually a component you can separate from persistence? These things are not yet known. Our paper explores such questions and makes recommendations for how EER scholars should report their work to allow cross-study comparisons and pooling of knowledge.

About 200 people from all around the globe tuned in to hear Inês’ presentation and ask questions afterward. The audience was lively and attentive as you can see from this screenshot:

Some attendees of the Big EER Meet Up on May 14th.

I was delighted with the clarity of Inês’ explanations. She has expanded the findings further beyond what we published and she is continuing to build knowledge and understanding of the topic. Thus, even if you read the paper, you’ll want to watch the video, too. Perhaps you’ll even want to cite both in your future work, if you have interest in grit?

Part of what impresses me, it that Inês is so effectively drawing from her PhD studies in Psychology to inform the way she studies and explains Grit. Inés pre-recorded the presentations and then answered questions live, and you can watch the presentation by clicking below:

The other six keynote presentations from the Big EER Meet Up are also available to view: https://sway.office.com/cNUsuiNUObg2SQNx?ref=Link. And again, the link to the paper on grit in EER is: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/03043797.2019.1688256

Well done, Inês! I’m so fortunate to collaborate with and learn from you!

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Shannon and Inês at UCL

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