Deputy at work: Strategizing editorials and scanning publication rankings

It’s a very strange and dreary day here in Dublin. We almost never get thunder and lightning, and that novel occurrence is providing the main bit of excitement for the day. (The thunderclaps are rolling longer than I’ve heard in my life — more like a standing ovation than mere claps.) Suffering from lack of focus, I have picked items from the non-urgent portion of my extensive “To Do” list, which will mean the urgent ones get more urgent. At least when I procrastinate, I’m still actually working!?

So this morning, in addition to meeting online with my PhD student, I spent some time studying the composition of the Editorial Board of the European Journal of Engineering Education (EJEE) and creating a spreadsheet to help me understand our peer reviewers’ expertise better, as I’ve recently become Deputy Editor of this journal.

EJEE’s Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Kristina Edström, recently published an editorial welcoming me aboard. She kindly listed three publications I have in EJEE:


That top one, “Opportunities and barriers faced by early-career civil engineers enacting global responsibility” is the most downloaded EJEE article of the past 12 months, with 2211 views since it was published last November.

The second one has a title that tends to scare people!

That scary name and the fact that it’s been behind a paywall on the publisher’s website mean that the tally of downloads isn’t as high, but you can find it free (as the embargo period passed) using this link from the TU Dublin ARROW repository, where it has had 870 downloads to complement the 1458 views at the publisher’s site. I really hope people will find and use this paper on “Comparing grounded theory and phenomenology,” especially if they are uncertain about which methodology to use for their research. Grounded theory and phenomenology have some similar characteristics, but the results we report in this paper illustrate that you can use them to find different things. Grounded theory is helpful when studying organizational and policy issues, as the article shows. Phenomenology looks deeply at the core essence of the experience. Using the two different methods in parallel analyses, we were able to learn about teachers’ (phenomenological) experience implementing Problem-Based Leaning, and also the (grounded theory) way they organized themselves to achieve results.

Meanwhile, the third on the list, “The study of grit in engineering education research: a systematic literature review” is EJEE’s fourteenth all-time most downloaded. This paper offers really important advice for anyone wanting to use Angela Duckworth’s theory of “grit” (passion and perseverance) to study student development. We found many researchers to be leaving out crucial information when reporting their “grit” results, and we provide advice on how to report findings in a reliable way.

As you can see in the screenshots above, I also authored the all-time most-downloaded article of the Australasian Journal of Engineering Education, “Above and beyond: ethics and responsibility in civil engineering” with 4,838 views as of today. I put my whole heart and soul into this paper and I am overjoyed to see it succeed. I hope readers will find the content useful.

Anyway, these discoveries prompted me to check my Google Scholar profile with happy results — I have climbed to h-index 10, which means ten of my articles have been cited at least ten times. The next milestone is h-index 11, which requires 11 articles to each have 11 or more citations. Those take a long time to accrue, but hopefully, people who download the articles will cite them in their own upcoming publications.

Now, for a little 2:26 PM lunch and a deep dive into some curriculum design for the afternoon! Thanks for stopping to read this. I truly appreciate your support.

Sushi Christmas

Jack Nealons Pub. (Photo from Jack Nealons website.)

Jack Nealons Pub. (Photo from Jack Nealons website.)

Christmas dinner with my colleagues Gavin and Sima was a blast!  We met at Jack Nealon’s pub and then went for sushi. We talked about all sorts of things–including our research projects. Today, we’re putting forth our work plans for the spring.

Gavin Duffy, Sima Rouholamin, and Shannon Chance.

Gavin Duffy, Sima Rouholamin, and Shannon Chance.

I had such an exciting day yesterday, which I’ll have to wait to tell you about until after get some research accomplished today….


Working, Actually

Multi-use space under the coffee dock.

I haven’t been posting much about the work I’m doing (my readership statistics plummet when I do!!?!).  Nevertheless, I have been working!

Yesterday, I spent the morning transcribing and completing my reading of the methods chapters from several different dissertations.

I met Gavin outside the “coffee dock”  to discuss our projects over packed lunches.  The whole place was very crowded so we found a seat in the area of the cafeteria reserved for teachers.

Lunch with Gavin.

Most of DIT’s buildings with classrooms have a cafeteria, as well as a coffee kiosk (which they call a coffee dock), and other places to hang out or eat a packed lunch.  I’m including of a gathering/eating/meeting space in the engineering building on Bolton Street.  In this picture, I’m looking down from the coffee dock to a multi-use sort of space filled with students.

I love these types of in-between spaces that encourage social interaction… you’ll find them in all of the school buildings designed by the Dutch architects Herman Hertzberger, for instance.

After lunch, Gavin and I headed to a three-hour meeting of the Educational Research Group for the College of Engineering and the Built Environment.  We spent several hours discussing similarities and differences between phenomenology and phenomenography.  Let me know if you want me to Skype you in for our next session!    😉

Three of our six seminar participants — Gavin, Eric, and Sima.

Watching Brian Bowe, Head of Learning Development, bring phenomenography to life!