Example SOC proposal for MSCA IF: Ethics Section

It might be helpful to other applicants in the SOC panel to see an example of the ethics section as well, so I’m providing this example from 2015. It is very important to note, however, that the rules for personal and data protection have gotten more highly defined, and so it would not be a good idea to copy paste this for your own submission. It must be updated for current GDPR regulations, as well as being tailored to your topic.

For the full suite of posts:

Abstract and Eval
• Excellence Section 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4
Notes on using tables
• Impact Section 2.1, 2.2
Implementation Section 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4
Ethics Section (here)
Final Report from 2016 submission

6      ETHICS SELF-REVIEW           

This research study involves (1) interviewing women who are studying engineering at 3rd level and (2) conducting surveys with male and female engineering students. Because this project involves human participants, we must obtain informed consent from each participant. Informed Consent Form and Information Sheets examples are provided below. Ethics approvals will be obtained from the host institution and each partner university prior to any data collection (see Tables 2, 4, and 6). Profs. Chance and Tyler will accept responsibility for being ethical stewards of the data throughout its life cycle. This will be checked during the Milestone reviews that occur every six months, where, for instance, Dr. Chance will provide Prof. Tyler with proof that Informed Consent has been secured.

HUMAN SUBJECTS

All participants will be university undergraduates, postgraduates, or practicing professionals. They will all be volunteers, recruited with the help of their teachers (or, in the case of Poland, via the Perspektywy Education Foundation website). They will be solicited in class, during events, via list serves, and/or by email. They can withdraw their participation at any time and they will be informed of such on the Information Sheet and Informed Consent Form. Interview and survey participants will be asked three demographic questions:

  1. What is your gender?
  2. Were you born in the country where you are now studying?
  3. On which continent were you born?

Raffle prizes (such as Kindle readers or iTunes gift certificates) may be offered to encourage participation in the interviews and surveys. Prizewinners will be selected randomly, by drawing numbers from a hat.

Volunteers for surveys will be limited to students over age 18 who are studying engineering and/or architecture. The opening page of the online survey will include a concise Information Sheet and ask the participant to give informed consent before starting the survey by clicking “continue.” The content of the online survey will be generated in light of findings from the interviews and will be provided to the host institution’s Ethics Review Committee prior to commencing the survey.

Volunteers for interviews will be limited to students over age 18 who are women studying engineering and/or architecture. When they are recruited, they will receive an Information Sheet and be invited to provide their preferred form of contact (email or text number) so the researcher can contact them. The Informed Consent Form will explicitly ask if it is okay to keep the contact information on file for follow-up and will let each participant specify time limits and any other preferences/stipulations about use of her contact information, interview data, and personal data. Each interview participant will be asked to sign the Informed Consent Form before the interview starts. The content of the Information Sheet and the Informed Consent Form will be translated into Polish and Portuguese for use in those countries. These materials will undergo review by Ethics boards at UCL and our partner institutions in Ireland, Poland, Portugal, and the USA. Our primary goal with this research is to support minority students (in engineering this mans women as well as non-native born students and those belonging to groups of minority status in their country of study). We will make every effort to protect the interests of and to support the success of participants of minority status in our research, outreach, and dissemination. Prior to submitting for Ethics approval, Dr. Chance will carefully review UCL’s Data Protection guidelines, policies, and principles. She will meet with a member of the UCL Research Ethics Committee  (i.e., UCL’s data protection officers) to discuss various aspects of the proposed work. The timeline for submitting ethics applications to UCL and the various partner institutions are provided in the Gantt chart (Table 6, in Section 3.1).

Check for collection of sensitive data

Interviewees may be asked to complete an epistemological survey instrument (an updated version of one produced by Kuhn, Cheney, and Winestock from Columbia Teacher’s College12) and to provide some basic demographic information as identified above. If we decide to include an epistemological survey questionnaire along with the interviews, information about the survey tool will be incorporated into the Information Sheet and Informed Consent Form. These personal data are of fairly low sensitivity, but nevertheless, UCL’s data protection officers will be consulted to ensure compliance and to advise the researchers if any specific authorizations from the national data protection authority are necessary. The ethics application/review process will include detailed information about the collection of the demographic data identified above, as well as the epistemological survey instrument.

SOCIAL SCIENCE AND HUMANITIES RESEARCH

This research involves online surveys and audio-recorded interviews. Interviews will be conducted in English, which presents one form of bias in sampling. Recruitment will happen in designated partner institutions, so there is also a convenience sampling bias. We will use extreme-case sampling for interview participants to get the most diverse points of view. In other words, we will be attempting to secure participation from native-born and non-native students in each location. Within the participating architecture and engineering programs, we will invite all registered students to complete the online surveys, which will be translated into the native language by a native speaker (working in consultation with the primary researcher to achieve the most accurate translation possible for each language).

Minimal risk/minimal burden. Questions will involve non-sensitive topics regarding experiences in engineering education. Risks associated with participating are extremely small. It is possible that participants could experience some emotional distress in reflecting on their past experiences, but not more than would be expected in the course of normal conversation. Participants’ identities will be kept confidential and references to actual names will be removed from transcripts, as detailed below; pseudonyms will be used in reporting.

Benefits of participation to the individual participation are the opportunity to reflect on past experiences and to contribute to research about engineering education, epistemological development, and design thinking.

PERSONAL DATA

Procedures for data collection, storage, protection, retention, transfer, destruction, or re-use.Personal data to be collected in this study will be collected through face-to-face interviews and online survey questionnaires.

Online surveys. No personal identifiers will be collected during online surveys—they will be completely anonymized. As per Horizon 2020 ethics self-assessment instructions, “completely anonymized data does not fall under data privacy rules (as from the moment it has been completely anonymized).” Responses to surveys will be stored in Excel spreadsheets, and analyzed using SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences) or similar.

Face-to-face interviews. The researcher is likely to know/record the name, email address and/or telephone number, gender, continent of birth, and national/non-national status for each interview participant. Processing of interviews will involve: collection of digital audio recordings, organization and storage, use, and deleting / destruction of audio recordings following transcription. If a prize raffle is held to encourage participation, email addresses will be collected, stored temporarily, and destroyed following the award of prizes. Interview data will be collected using digital sound recording devices and stored on a password-protected computer. Interview participants can choose to have their data included only in this study, or archived for future research, conditional on the restrictions listed on the Consent Form. The list of interview participants (with name, contact information, and identifying code / pseudonym will not be stored in the same digital archive as the transcriptions and audio recordings. Audio recordings will be deleted/destroyed following transcription. Data will be analyzed using Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, NVivo, Scrivener, or other specialized software for qualitative data analysis. At the beginning and end of each interview the researchers will ask the participant for both verbal and written confirmation that it is acceptable to archive the interview transcript for future use. Each participant will be asked to note in writing any specific limits for use of her data. 

Use of previously processed data (secondary use). The longitudinal component of this study utilizes data collected during interviews conducted in Ireland (in 2014-15) and Poland (in 2015). Each participant has already provided written consent for archiving and ongoing use of her interview data, following the same procedure described above. These procedures were reviewed and approved by DIT’s Ethics Review Committee and by WUT’s Rector. These data have been and will be collected, stored, and processed in the ways stated above. Dr. Chance is the manager of these data, which are owned by Dr. Chance and the respective interview participant.

Privacy and data safety protection procedures. All individual information collected as part of the study will be anonymous—the identity of participants will be known only to the official research team. Data may be included in future conference presentations and publications, but at no time will it be possible to identify it as belonging to a specific individual. Information will be used solely for Dr. Chance’s research. It will be stripped of any personal identifiers and stored securely in password-protected electronic format pending possible continuation of the study. Data will be stored on two external backup hard drives and on UCL’s encrypted servers. Dr. Chance will provide Prof. Tyler with evidence that agreed-upon procedures for protection of personal data are being upheld during the Milestone reviews that occur every six months.

THIRD COUNTRIES

The only third country involved in this study is the USA. Ethical research standards and procedures are clear and well enforced in universities in the USA that will be involved in this study (Hampton University and the College of William and Mary). Procedures will follow those described above.

INFORMATION SHEET

DESIGINING ENGINEERS

Note: This is an example Information Sheet for Research Participants–the one that was actually used was updated to meet UCL specifications and all current GDPR regulations:

You are invited to participate in a research study about your experiences with project work, design, and design projects in engineering and/or architecture. The research team has received approval from your institution’s research ethics committee. Please read the following information before deciding whether or not to participate.

What are the objectives of the study? Dr. Shannon Chance is conducting this study because she wants to understand what it is like to be an engineering or architecture student, to experience project work, and to think about design and knowledge.

Why have you been asked to participate? You are engineering and/or architecture courses and you have experience of project work and/or design.

What happens if you agree to take part?

  • Information about you will be treated in strict confidence.
  • You will be asked to schedule a time for an interview at a time and place that suits you. You’ll be provided with Dr. Chance’s telephone/text number so that you can use it to make scheduling changes if necessary.
  • During the interview, we will chat about your experiences for about an hour. Before we start, you will be asked if it is okay to audio record what you say. You will be asked if you’d like a written copy of your interview for your records and/or to check for accuracy. Dr. Chance will also ask if she can keep your permanent email address and telephone number on file so that she can follow up with you in later years to talk again. (You can still participate in this study if you do not want to provide that information or if you don’t want her to keep it.)

Benefits of participating: The benefit of participation to you is the chance to talk about what you are going through in your engineering program—which can be a fun learning experience. By participating, you can also help teachers understand what it’s like to be an engineering student and how they can support students who are learning engineering and design.

Are there any risks involved in participation? There is very little risk associated with participation. In the unlikely event that talking about what you’re going through causes distress, Dr. Chance can help you locate support services or you can go directly to [TBD office or website at each university], which provides a list of support services available to students on your campus.

Participants’ rights:

  • Your participation in this research project will not influence your academic marks or your relationship with your institution in any way.
  • You may decide to stop being a part of this study at any time, and you do not need to explain why. You can omit or refuse to answer or respond to any question that is asked of you if you feel uncomfortable. If you decided to stop participating, you have the right to request that all data about be withdrawn from the study you (including the interview recordings, transcriptions, and contact information).
  • You have the right to have all your questions about the study and the research methods answered. If you have any questions as a result of reading this information sheet, please ask Dr. Chance before the study begins or email her at any time.

Confidentiality: Your identity will remain secret/anonymous. Your data may be included in future publications and conference presentations, but at no time will it be possible to identify it as yours. All information will be reported using pseudonyms (fictitious names, rather than real names). Your interview data will be stored using a code, and it will be kept separate from your actual name and contact information.

If you’d like to set any additional restrictions for use of your data and your contact information, please let Dr. Chance know now or at the end of the interview.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION

If you want to find out more about the study or would like a summary of the results, you can contact:

Prof. Shannon Chance, [email and phone number were provided]

Prof. Nick Tyler, [email and phone number were provided]

Note: This is an example Consent Form–the one that was actually used was updated to meet UCL specifications and all current GDPR regulations:

CONSENT FORM

DESIGINING ENGINEERS

PLEASE CIRCLE YOUR RESPONSE TO EACH QUESTION

• I have read and understood the attached Information Sheet YES / NO

• I have had the opportunity to ask any questions I have about the study YES / NO

• I have received satisfactory answers to all my questions YES / NO

• I understand that my data will be used for research purposes and stored securely on a password protected device in a secure location until the end of the project, when they will be destroyed, unless I grant additional permission for their use below*. YES / NO

• I would like to receive a written copy of my interview transcript YES / NO

• I understand that I am free to withdraw from the study at any time YES / NO

without giving a reason and without this affecting my college studies

I agree to take part in the study YES / NO

You may, in addition, agree to have your interview transcript (without your name or any personal identifiers) archived for future similar research. Please read the note below and decide whether you wish to agree to this element:

I give my approval that these anonymous data concerning me may be stored or electronically processed for the purpose of scientific research and may be used in this research project, and, potentially, in other research studies in the future. (Any future use of the anonymous interview transcripts related to me would still be subject to approval by an independent ethical review body.)

Please tick        I agree [ ]          I do not agree [ ]

I make the following stipulations regarding the use of my data or length of time my data may be archived:____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION

If you want to find out more about the study or would like a summary of the results, you can contact:

Prof. Shannon Chance, [email and phone number were provided]

Prof. Nick Tyler, [email and phone number were provided]

DIT Research Ethics Committee notes from prior research:

  • For persons under 18 years of age the consent of the parents or guardians must be obtained or an explanation given to the Research Ethics Committee and the assent of the child/young person should be obtained to the degree possible dependent on the age of the child/young person. (For this study, we do not intend to recruit under-age participants.)
  • In some studies, witnessed consent may be appropriate. (We do not anticipate any need for witness consent.)
  • The researcher concerned must sign the consent form after having explained the project to the subject and after having answered his/her questions about the project.

Example SOC proposal for MSCA IF: Implementation Section

Many applicants run out of steam before they reach the Implementation Section, but in order to score high enough to be competitive, a proposal must carefully address each and every point requested in the Guidelines for Applicants. Leave no stone unturned if you want to win an MSCA Individual Fellowship! They’re extremely competitive, with a success rate around 9-12% depending on the year.

This post shares the Implementation Section of my unsuccessful 2015 proposal. I’ve also shared the scoring rubric, that I used to get the proposal over the line the following year when I earned the funded needed to spend two years at University College London. Your host organization will need to help you prepare. Find someone in their Research Support Office to help, in addition to getting help from your supervisor and the host country’s MSCA National Contact Point (NCP). They should ALL want to help you as the EU funds will be coming into their country and will support their local economy.

If you’re wanting to come to TU Dublin, our Research Support Office is awesome. Jean Cahill has been a huge support to me in writing grant proposals, with others in the office also chipping in to help us win.

The full suite of my posts on this topics includes:
Abstract and Eval
• Excellence Section 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4
Notes on using tables
• Impact Section 2.1, 2.2
Implementation Section 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4
Ethics Section
Final Report from 2016 submission

The evaluation sheet shows that I lost points in two categories for the work plan. Evaluators though it was not clear enough and I didn’t convince them I could finish everything in two years.

3     IMPLEMENTATION    

3.1  Overall coherence and effectiveness of the work plan

Table 6 provides a timeline of milestones (the lowercase letters correspond to Work Package descriptions below). Country codes indicate 10-day visits for data collection, outreach, and training (also see Table 4, data collection).

Table 6: Work Plan

WP1: Qualitative studies (Q1-3). Deliverables: two conference papers and a journal article. Milestones: (a) university ethics approvals secured, (b) 60 interviews completed and professionally transcribed, (*) coding and analysis.

WP2: Mixed-methods study (Q4). Deliverables: statistical calculations, a conference paper, and a journal article. Milestones: (c) survey questionnaire developed based on results emerging from Q1-3, (d) survey approved by ethics committees, (e) survey data collected from ~500 participants, and (*) statistical analysis.

WP3: Background research and book manuscript (Q5). Deliverable: book manuscript. Milestones for sending publisher: (f) proposal with background research, (g) first draft, (h) second draft, (i) permissions and final proof.

WP4: Outreach activities will engage multiple sections of society, as detailed in Section 2.2, Tables 4 and 5. Conferences dates are estimated for (1) SEFI, (2) PAEE, (3) REES, (4) EPDE, (5) ASHE, and (6) AERA based on both recent conference dates and when research results and findings will be available to present.

WP5: Training and Transfer-of-Knowledge. Project-related milestones: (j) social science training from Prof. Tyler and CEE researchers, (k) statistical analysis training from Prof. Tyler and CRUCIBLE researchers, (m) tailored project management training from Prof. Tyler, (n) tailored grant-writing mentorship from Prof. Tyler, and (t) a likely secondment will span a 3-month period (t) and will develop transferable skills. Other training activities (to diversify Dr. Chance’s competencies and develop transferable skills) are detailed in Tables 2 and 4, and match travel.

WP6: Management activities. Milestones: (o) Career Development Plan, (p) bi-weekly meetings with Nick Tyler to monitoring the Plan and manage quality and risks, (q) formal reviews with Prof. Tyler every six months, and consultation with (r) UCL financial managers, and (s) UCL Enterprise regarding Intellectual Property management.

3.2  Appropriateness of management structure & procedures, inc. quality management & risk management

Financial management for grants at UCL is provided centrally by Research Services within Financial Services. The research division collaborates closely with the engineering Dean and CEE’s administrators about financial monitoring and grant reporting. Upon arrival, Dr. Chance will take Introduction to Managing UCL Finances and her project will receive its own account code. Prof. Tyler and Dr. Chance will have financial control for the project with support from Research Services. IPR management will be conducted via meetings with experts fromUCL Enterprise. Progress monitoring will focus on quality and timeliness of research, training, transfer-of-knowledge, dissemination, and the Career Development Plan. Prof. Tyler and Dr. Chance will meet twice monthly to evaluate each of these items and to monitor research methods and grant writing. Prof. Tyler will help ensure Dr. Chance’s full integration into UCL and CEE and will provide entrée into CRUCIBLE events. In addition, Dr. Chance will report her progress regularly to colleagues in CEE—seeking feedback, collaboration, and advice. Through daily contact and regular CEE meetings, Emanuella Tilley and Drs. Paul Greening and John Mitchell will help Dr. Chance monitor progress of R&D on new undergraduate design activities and MSc activities/modules. Dr. Chance will meet with Dr. Abel Nyamapfene and Profs. David Guile and Andrew Brown several times each, for advice on targeted social science topics (please see Capacities). Risk monitoring will occur monthly in meetings with Prof. Tyler, to address emerging issues, such as those speculated in Table 6. The management procedures for this grant, along with Professional Development and VITAE training courses (see Section 1.2), will develop Dr. Chance’s skill in administering and managing research projects.

Table 6: Risk mitigation plan

3.3  Appropriateness of the institutional environment (infrastructure) (Please see Capacities chart also.)

University College London has world-class mechanisms to support international fellows in all aspects of training, result dissemination, public engagement, and project management. UCL is a global leader in funded research—running €347M in EU-funded research since 2007, including 173 MSCA projects. The project has the Dean’s strong support and the resources offered by the host facility (CEE), the institution, and Prof. Tyler guarantee that all aspects of the proposed research will be supported at UCL. The University commits to providing a safe and supportive work environment for Dr. Chance, a stable research contract, guidance of a highly experienced supervisor, an array of Professional Development and VITAE programs, administrative and financial accounting support, access to exemplary library resources and databases, and a shared open-plan office space. The office will be equipped for the computational needs of this project with up-to-date computer equipment, external hard-drives and secure data backup systems, telephone and Internet access. UCL also provides high-performance computing capacity for researchers. It has one of the world’s largest academic supercomputers available for use in this project. Logistical support for visiting researchers is provided by the offices for HR and Accommodation Services, and by UCL’s “European Office.” Orientation programs include On-line Induction, Diversity in the Workplace, and the Provost’s welcome and staff benefits marketplace. UCL and all its engineering departments earned Athena SWAN awards.

3.4  Competences, experience & complementarity of participating organizations & institutional commitment

Institutional commitment. The UK is steadfastly committed to educational excellence and these values infuse the UCL ethos (see Capacities chart). All new 3rd level teachers are mandated to earn teaching qualifications—providing a ready audience for Dr. Chance’s work and means to exploit findings and get tutors to apply them in practice. The EURAXESS Rights webpage notes the UK’s unique nation-wide research infrastructure that streamlines how 3rd level institutions earn the European Commission’s HR Excellence in Research Badge, which UCL earned in 2013. According to EURAXESS, “The UK’s approach includes ongoing national evaluation and benchmarking.” Additionally, UCL is a member of the European Charter for the Researchers and it upholds the Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers. UCL has an impressive record of internal, international, and intra-European collaboration that facilitates teamwork and multidisciplinary exploration of scientific questions. The approximately 2,500 research staff and fellows working at UCL today enjoy a dynamic, diverse, and supportive learning environment. This well-structured research environment will provide Dr. Chance with new examples, competencies, and skills, and catapult her research career forward. The proposed work plan, the resources offered by UCL and CEE for its implementation, the peer-to-peer training with and from CEE and CRUCIBLE researchers, the active participation of international partner organizations, and Dr. Chance’s growing record of success effectively work synergistically to ensure delivery of high-quality research that can have positive, large-scale impact for society.

Participating organizations.HMH, Science|Business, and CIF and described in the Capacities charts. Partners in Poland, Portugal, Ireland, and USA previously contributed to Dr. Chance’s research. This EF grant will facilitate mobility, providing access to resources for training and audiences for data gathering, outreach, and dissemination.

Example SOC proposal for MSCA IF: Impact (dissemination and communication, 2.2)

In 2015, sub-section 2.2 of my MSCA IF proposal on “Effectiveness of the proposed measures for communication and results dissemination”, in the Impact section, identified strategies for “exploiting” or “valorizing” possible business ideas stemming from the proposed work, as well as disseminating results and findings to academics, and communicating the value of research to non-academic audiences.

This example wasn’t funded in 2015, but was the following year when it was amended in response to reviewer comments. The full suite of posts I’m sharing on this proposal includes:
Abstract and Eval
• Excellence Section 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4
Notes on using tables
• Impact Section 2.1, 2.2
Implementation Section 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4
Ethics Section
Final Report from 2016 submission

2     IMPACT

2.2  Effectiveness of the proposed measures for communication and results dissemination

Table 4: Integrated plan for data collection, outreach, and training (by host and partners)

Exploitation strategy.

To meet global challenges, engineering must become more flexible, creative, and socially responsive4, 5, 6. Dr. Chance’s work will help transform the culture of engineering education and track outcomes. Results will facilitate publication of a book and possible spin-off businesses in consulting both addressing Question Q5) What knowledge of epistemology and design thinking can help educators support student development?

There is global demand for dramatic changes in engineering today, but education leaders don’t yet know what to do. Dr. Chance and Prof. Tyler have fresh, innovative ideas that are based on their prior work. Their body of work can provide a solid foundation for this EF project. So far the thrust of modernization in engineering education has been to implement Student-Centered and Problem-Based Learning (PBL). Similar pedagogies have been used to teach architecture since the Renaissance and engineering is fostering a healthy new focus on teamwork. Bridging the best practices from these fields and supplementing them with research is essential. Collaboration among architecture and engineering educators is crucial for knowledge transfer. R&D Dr. Chance leads as an EF will reach:

  • 2nd level students (via outreach to STEMettes in the UK for girls ages 11-22, RoboSlam robot-building workshops in the UK and Ireland, and Perspektywy Education Foundation in Poland for supporting girls in STEM)
  • 3rd level students (through new UCL undergraduate engineering modules and Perspektywy mentorship programs)
  • 3rd level teachers (through new UCL post-graduate modules that exploit Dr. Chance’s research) (see also Table 4)

Exploitation activities will embed research findings (collected and/or generated by Dr. Chance) into project briefs and module descriptors. The new MSc programs will have tremendous positive impact. This MSc program (to be launched in 2016) will be unique. It will be the world’s first and only Masters-level program designed to help university tutors upgrade their teaching skills across the realm of engineering topics. (DIT is launching an MPhil to train engineering education researchers, and Aalborg offers an MSc in Problem-Based Learning.) UCL’s program has broad appeal and a captive audience, since every new university teacher in the UK must earn at least one credential in teaching and learning. Two other avenues for exploiting Dr. Chance’s research findings are the creation of new programs for Creative Industries Federation and the possible creation of a business to help organizations (universities, businesses, and corporations) design and implement more effective education and training programs.

Public engagement strategy.

Dr. Chance will encourage public interest and involvement through engineering activities and communication. During the EF, Dr. Chance will advise multiple organizations—assisting some with program evaluation, strategic vision, and grant-writing support—and conducting engineering events for various age groups. In the UK, Dr. Chance will make public presentations through Creative Industries Federation (CIF) and STEMettes. Activities for STEMettes will include STEM projects (for 50+ girls) plus one or more RobSlam robot-building workshops (for 20+ girls). Dr. Chance will seek opportunities to make school presentations, become a MSCA Ambassador, and deliver public talks. Communication activities involve attracting the attention of news outlets. Dr. Chance will write one or more articles for Perspektywy Magazine. To help attract attention of TV, radio, and newspapers in the UK, Dr. Chance will attend UCL workshops in media relations for researchers. A 2014 workshop she took on this topic helped gain recognition for her work and as a result she was quoted in an Irish Timesarticle on women in STEM. She will continue to build public relations skills using UCL’s exceptional resources. She will maintain an educational blog to increase public understanding of research topics and activities.

Table 5: Impact targets for communication and dissemination (see Table 4 for outreach targets)

Dissemination strategy.

Dr. Chance will disseminate research findings to international audiences via conference papers, journal articles, and publication of a 100,000-word handbook for educators with a comprehensive new set of resources on epistemological development and design thinking (addressing Q5). Its planning, compilation, and editing will take 2-2.5 years. It will likely include 10 chapters of new primary research by leading experts in various aspects of epistemological development and design thinking, 8 chapters summarizing and synthesizing existing theories and literature in new ways, and an introduction and conclusion by Dr. Chance. She will seek funds to support an invitational symposium on the book’s topics to recruit specific experts internationally. This will facilitate knowledge generation and prompt submittal of high-quality chapters. Her work will help overcome a current problem, identified by Dr. Bill Williams (a probable co-editor for the book), wherein EER journals published in the USA almost exclusively cite US scholars. Trans-Atlantic authorship can help. She will recruit a 3rd editor as well.

Dr. Chance has the goal of publishing results of Research Questions 1-4 in two of the world’s top-ranked journals in EER and higher education. These ask: Q1*) To what extents do design and pedagogy influence women’s choice to study engineering at third-level? Q2*) Among women, to what extents do design-based pedagogies prompt more sophisticated epistemologies than traditional teaching formats? Q3*) How do women experience engineering over time, from early design projects to entering industry? Q4*) Among men and women, to what extents do design pedagogies prompt more sophisticated epistemologies than traditional teaching formats? She is targeting Learning and Instruction (impact factor 3.585, SJR 2.907) and the Journal of Engineering Education (impact factor 2.059) for publication. Dr. Chance aims to present preliminary findings at three top-tier conferences (AERA, ASHE, and REES) where she will also network internationally. She will assemble teams of peers to co-author conference papers on educ. design (for SEFI, PAEE, EPDE, see Table 5); leading these teams will develop her skills.

Example SOC proposal for MSCA IF: Impact (skills and conditions, 2.1)

Envisioning the impact your your future work poses quite a challenge. You nearly need a crystal ball! I hope that reading the draft of the Impact Section of my 2015 proposal (unsuccessful that year, but successful when modified in response to reviewer comments and re-submitted in 2016) will provide you ideas and inspiration for crafting your own plan of action.

In this post, I share subsection 2.1, on “Enhancing research- & innovation-related skills & working conditions to realize potential of individual”. In this subsection, I also show how the proposed work aligns with European policies and priorities.

The full suite of posts I’m sharing on this proposal includes:
Abstract and Eval
• Excellence Section 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4
Notes on using tables
• Impact Section 2.1, 2.2
Implementation Section 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4
Ethics Section
Final Report from 2016 submission

Hopefully, your proposed sponsor/PI can help you brainstorm ideas for increasing the impact of your work. It may be difficult to get feedback from a proposed PI during August (when you’re probably working on the proposal) since most European academics are out-of-office. Try talking this through with some people in your field of study if the PI isn’t available.

The (MSCA)-ITN the Innovative Training Networks program ENHPATHY ...
MSCA logo — Marie Curie had huge impact on science and life at a global level. This funding program celebrates her accomplishments and her perseverance.

2     IMPACT

2.1  Enhancing research- & innovation-related skills & working conditions to realize potential of individual

The training Dr. Chance can receive UCL is essential. It will provide management and innovation skills necessary for her to lead research teams on behalf of the EU. At DIT, she is successfully developing expertise in phenomenological research. Via a new fellowship at UCL, she will tackle ever-bigger challenges. She will master new research skills (developing statistical expertise to amplify the power of her qualitative results) and new transferrable skills (from global leaders in research). She will gain new exposure to industry. Her current projects at DIT are carefully aligned with policy foci of FP7 IIF, which is geared toward transferring knowledge into Europe by bringing foreign researchers here. Through FP7, Dr. Chance has been bringing—from the US to DIT—international perspectives and knowledge of curriculum design, program evaluation, architecture and design education, as well as various frameworks and procedures for conducting educational research. In order to grow and excel in research, she and DIT’s CREATE research group must develop a wider skill set. This will enable them to manage large-scale projects for education and industry in the EU—training that Prof. Tyler and UCL can readily provide. New skills, essential for Dr. Chance to garner a large-scale competitive grant to lead an independent research team, are:

  • Managing multiple projects and budgets, gained by exposure to a well-established research management system.
  • Preparing and submitting applications for complex, larger-scale grants with multiple partners.
  • Creating new programs at 2nd, 3rd, and post-graduate levels and rigorously assessing them.
  • Conducting large-scale surveys and learning to analyze them with new techniques to extend generalizability.
  • Supervising PhD students and learning to secure funding for their research.
  • Operating within the industrial sector and learning to focus research on questions relevant to industry.
  • Communicating STEM topics to target audiences via events and public media, and compiling/editing books.

Horizon 2020 recognizes these types of need, supporting ongoing development of experienced researchers through policies and EF programs. The EU seeks to enhance “international cooperation in research and innovation” through a strategic approach that tackles global societal challenges. The EU seeks to develop/deploy effective new solutions to achieve “excellence and attractiveness in research and innovation” and ensure its own economic and industrial competitiveness. By leveraging interdisciplinarity in innovative ways, this project will deliver great benefit to UCL, DIT, Dr. Chance as a researcher, partner institutions and engineering education globally. It will also benefit the EU—economically, socially, scientifically—by addressing problems described in section 1.1 and through:

  • Improved pedagogies for engineers that attract additional engineers from a larger, more diverse pool of people.
  • Perfecting phenomenology as an approach for EER and extending its generalizability across the EU via surveys.
  • Building resources to recruit and skills and train new scholars in engineering education to research EU problems.
  • Cross-pollinating and coordinating educational offerings among engineering education centers in the EU.

As a result of this EF, UCL’s new CEE will reap benefit from the US and Irish perspectives, connections, and skills that Dr. Chance will bring. Dr. Chance will connect UCL’s CEE with DIT’s CREATE research group and intends to return to CREATE following the EF, to transfer critical knowledge back to DIT—bringing new credentials and crucial new skills. She will help CREATE gain formal status as a research center, secure large-scale grants, and attract emerging scholars to Ireland who can learn new research skills and generate new knowledge for society.

This project addresses the focus of H2020 EF and all six key Indicators for promoting and monitoring Responsible Research and Innovation defined by the European Commission: (1) public engagement, (2) gender equality, (3) science education, (4) open access, (5) ethics, and (6) governance. This proposed work supports many 2015 key initiatives of the Innovation Union, including: (1) promoting excellence in education (through MSc, undergrad projects, outreach, and dissemination) and skills development (of both Dr. Chance those she transfers knowledge to); (2) delivering the European Research Area (5 keys explained below); (3) focusing EU funding instruments on Innovation Union priorities (e.g., societal challenges related to STEM); (3) promoting openness and capitalizing on Europe’s creative potential (increasing creativity by using design thinking in engineering); (4) spreading the benefits of innovation across the Union (through collaboration and outreach in four EU countries); (5) increasing social benefits (supporting students in STEM); and (6) pooling forces to achieve breakthroughs (creating European Innovation Partnerships). The secondment supports IU Commitment #2B to support “knowledge alliances” between education and business and #7 to increase involvement of SMEs. Dr. Chance’s research supports Europe’s Flagship Initiative for Youth on the Move by developing modern education systems to deliver key competencies and make education more relevant to young people’s needs. It addresses all 5 key prioritiesof the European Research Area:

1) More effective national research systems (by strengthening UK and Irish research through UCL and DIT).

2) Improved trans-national cooperation (through cross-border links, research agendas, and coordinated offerings).

3) A more open labor market for researchers (providing training crucial for Dr. Chance to base all research in EU).

4) Gender equality/mainstreaming in research organizations (research to support female students, conducted about and by women, which incorporates all 9 recommendations on research content listed in the EU’s gender toolkit).

5) Optimal circulation, access, and transfer of scientific knowledge (via diverse dissemination, communication, and outreach, including an open-access book—part of IU Commitment #20 and Point 5 of ERA Communication 2012).

Example SOC proposal for MSCA IF: Abstract and Eval

I’ve decided to share an example proposal submitted to the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 for the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) Individual Fellowship (IF) program. It was prepared for the SOC panel, which reviews all the social science research proposals, including educational and learning sciences, where my proposal resides.

Specifically, I do engineering education research (EER). I moved to Europe from the USA to develop mastery in EER, and MSCA funding has been fundamental to me developing as a researcher. Of the three proposals I have submitted to MSCA, two were funded (the first for the 2013 call and the second for the 2016 call) and one (submitted for the 2015 call) was not. I will be sharing parts of the 2015 proposal that was not funded along with the evaluators’ comments.

Over the course of the week starting August 3, I will be posting blogs on each of the following topics:
Abstract and Eval (here)
• Excellence Section 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4
Notes on using tables
• Impact Section 2.1, 2.2
Implementation Section 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4
Ethics Section
Final Report from 2016 submission

After enjoying a 2014-2016 IIF (International Incoming Fellowship under FP7) to Ireland, I was eager to stay in Europe with my new research skills rather than return to the USA. I submitted this proposal in 2015, hoping to go to the UK to work for a couple years. Although this 2015 version of the proposal was not funded, the score wasn’t terrible (87.8/100), and it left me with hope that I could secure funding if I did not meddle with the content too much. I had specific review comments in hand to guide me. A score of 92-93 is normally needed to garner funding.

I submitted a modified version of this proposal in 2016 and was funded for a 2018-2020 IF. It enabled me to spent two glorious years living in London and working at University College London–ranked #7 in the world for research. What a truly amazing opportunity!

I had spent 5-6 weeks full-time writing the 2015 version that I am sharing, and in 2016 I dedicated just about three days to revising that proposal using the evaluators’ comments. That version succeeded in winning the funding I needed to pack my bags for London.

I am sharing the 2015 submission because I feel this version is most helpful to others writing proposals. They can use these resources to learn to critique to their own proposals.

Just look to see what the evaluators said, and to what degree you agree with them….

In today’s blog post, I will share the abstract and the evaluators’ comments.

MARIE SKŁODOWSKA-CURIE ACTIONS

Individual Fellowships (IF)

Call: H2020-MSCA-IF-2015

PART B

“Designing Engineers”

Abstract

Europe is suffering an enormous deficit of engineers and this adversely affects the number of patent filings, top tech companies, and level of R&D. In 2011, Germany alone fell short by 76,400 engineers. We urgently need more engineers, particularly ones who can work collaboratively and creatively. Failure to attract women exacerbates the crisis. Today, women comprise 26% of engineering professionals in Sweden, 20% in Italy, 18% in Spain, but just 9% in the UK.

As an MSCA fellow, Prof./Dr. Shannon Chance will receive crucial training at at University College London and will investigate overlaps between epistemology (‘what is knowledge?’) and design thinking (‘how is knowledge created and used in the process of design?’). She will evaluate the role of design projects in the learning, epistemological development, and retention of engineering students, particularly women. She will collect data in Ireland, Poland, Portugal, the UK and USA. A three-month secondment in industry will help her extend and exploit her research.

Overarching research objectives are to: (1) develop and promote better ways to teach and support engineering students, (2) help transform engineering into a more diverse and creative field, and (3) track results via five primary research questions surrounding the theme:

To what extents do design projects influence the cognitive and epistemological development of undergraduates in engineering and architecture?

Dr. Chance will produce: mixed-methods research in a ground-breaking field; new design project briefs (and pilot test them); outreach and dissemination to crucial target audiences; and publication of an educator’s handbook intended to revolutionize engineering teaching methods. The interdisciplinary approach draws from Dr. Chance’s unique skill set and synthesizes state-of-the-art in three realms: (1) practices from architecture education, (2) research on engineering education, and (3) theories on college student development. 

List of Participants

Evaluation Summary Report

Total score for my proposal: 87.80% (Threshold: 70/100.00)

Scoring Rubric

Scores can range 0-5. Interpretation of the score:
0– The proposal fails to address the criterion or cannot be assessed due to missing or incomplete information.
1Poor. The criterion is inadequately addressed, or there are serious inherent weaknesses.
2Fair. The proposal broadly addresses the criterion, but there are significant weaknesses.
3Good. The proposal addresses the criterion well, but a number of shortcomings are present.
4 Very good. The proposal addresses the criterion very well, but a small number of shortcomings are present.
5Excellent. The proposal successfully addresses all relevant aspects of the criterion. Any shortcomings are minor.

Criterion 1 – Excellence

Score for my proposal: 4.50 (Threshold: 0/5.00 , Weight: 50.00%)

Reviewers are scoring based on:
* Quality, innovative aspects and credibility of the research (including inter/multidisciplinary aspects)
* Clarity and quality of transfer of knowledge/training for the development of researcher in light of the research objectives
* Quality of the supervision and the hosting arrangements
* Capacity of the researcher to reach or re-enforce a position of professional maturity in research (You must earn at least 70/100 in this category to be eligible to receive funding)

Strengths:

  • This is an ambitious interdisciplinary proposal which includes original and innovative features.
  • The research objectives and questions are clearly formulated.
  • The proposal clearly illustrates the new competence and knowledge that the researcher would gain through training and supervising at the host institution.
  • The supervision and hosting arrangements are credibly described and match the needs of the proposed research.
  • The proposal demonstrates that the proposed research would contribute to the professional maturity of the researcher. The methodological framework is appropriate and gender considerations are taken into account.

Weaknesses:

  • Certain aspects of the research methodology are not explained in sufficient detail; for example, the sampling procedure and the quantitative survey, data analysis and the comparative aspects of collected data.
  • Some aspects of the state of the art are not well elaborated, e.g., no adequate information is provided on theories of student development as related to research on engineering education.

Criterion 2 – Impact

Score for my proposal: 4.20 (Threshold: 0/5.00 , Weight: 30.00%)

Reviewers are scoring based on:
* Enhancing research- and innovation-related human resources, skills, and working conditions to realise the potential of individuals and to provide new career perspectives
* Effectiveness of the proposed measures for communication and results dissemination

Strengths:

  • There is clear evidence that the researcher would benefit from the hosting institution’s participation in research and the international
    collaborations.
  • The strategy for communicating results to non-academic audiences is well elaborated and is likely to be effective.

Weaknesses:

  • The proposal does not convincingly demonstrate that the measures planned for the dissemination of results are feasible within the duration of the fellowship.
  • The issues related to intellectual property are insufficiently addressed.

Criterion 3 – Implementation

Score for my proposal: 4.40 (Threshold: 0/5.00 , Weight: 20.00%)

Reviewers are scoring based on:
* Overall coherence and effectiveness of the work plan, including appropriateness of the allocation of tasks and resources
* Appropriateness of the management structures and procedures, including quality management and risk management
* Appropriateness of the institutional environment (infrastructure)
* Competences, experience and complementarity of the participating organisations and institutional commitment

Strengths:

  • The work plan is clear overall.
  • The proposal provides a clear structure of the project organization and management, taking into account financial and administrative
    aspects.
  • The institutional environment proposed for the project is well described and matches well with the needs of the proposal.
  • Quality and risk management are taken into due consideration and a basic contingency plan is described.
  • The institutional commitment of the host to the project is well described.

Weaknesses:

  • The level of institutional commitment of the participating organisations is difficult to assess given that not all of the partners are already secured.
  • The Gantt Chart has some imprecisions, e.g., it does not precisely indicate when the activities occur within the project timeframe.
  • It is not clear whether the deliverables proposed can be finished within the timeframe of the project.

In summary, you can see that the evaluators thought I was trying to accomplish an unreasonably high amount, and I also lost points for mentioning a possible secondment without providing a convincing level of detail.

Doing social science as an MSCA Research Fellow

A Marie Curie Research Fellowship is about developing new research skills by doing research projects under the supervision of highly skilled experts. People who are interested in doing a fellowship like this might want to see what one looks like in reality, particularly a fellowship in the realm of social sciences and/or educational sciences (the SOC panel for European projects). This post describes research I generated myself (working with colleagues during my recent 2-year MSCA Individual Fellowship at UCL) and shares some photos taken with other researchers during my fellowship.

My time was distributed across six work packages (WPs). Today, I described work related to WP1, Qualitative Research and WP2, Multiple Methods.

These two work packages developed my skill with various social science methodologies. I am a pragmatist in that I try to implement whatever methodology is best suited to answer my specific question. And I have so many questions!

The experts I worked with at University College London (UCL) were Professor Nick Tyler, Professor John Mitchell, and the recently promoted Dr. Inês Direto. They were amazing!

At the time I joined, UCL was ranked seventh in the world for research by QS! It was a fantastic place to develop new skills. The fellowship ended December 31, 2019, but I am pleased to say I’m still working with UCL even now, as I was appointed Visiting Professor there for a five year term in addition to having the two-year fellowship. I collaborate with Inês and John nearly every single day.

London was calling my name! I jumped at the “chance” to work at one of the world’s leading research institutions even though I’d nearly just started a new Lecturing post at TU Dublin. Thankfully, my supervisors in Dublin saw value in the exchange and encouraged me to go.

My MSCA-IF research was looking at how design projects influence the cognitive and epistemological development of undergraduates in engineering and architecture. To put it more generally, I investigate how to teach engineering as effectively as possible.

You can read an overview of the fellowship here and download my final report, with similar information, here.

WP1, Qualitative Research

The intention of WP1 was to use qualitative research methods to study how engineering and architecture students learn and how they conceptualize design creation and knowledge generation. The following deliverables were listed in the fellowship application: submission of one conference paper and one journal manuscript. The list of items produced is provided below and exceeds the stated expectations. Under WP1, I delivered four conference publications and one journal publication during the fellowship period. I have an additional three conference publications and two journal manuscripts underway.

The first journal paper published under WP1 was an editorial overview of epistemological development and identity development among students published in IEEE Transactions on Education. The academic citation for it is:

CHANCE, S., Williams, B., Goldfinch, T., Adams, R. S., & Fleming, L. N. (Eds.). (August 2019). Guest Editorial Statement for the Special Issue on Using Enquiry- and Design-Based Learning to Spur Epistemological and Identity Development of Engineering Students. IEEE Transactions on Education, (62)3, 157-164. DOI 10.1109/TE.2019.2923043. (Download here).

The next set of manuscripts investigated the development of civil engineers. I conducted nine interviews with civil engineers practicing in London to explore how they think about ethics and also how they integrate global responsibility (e.g., environmental and social sustainability) into their work. This yielded two conference papers:

CHANCE, S. M., Direito, I., Lawlor, R., Cresswell-Maynard, K., Pritchard, J., Tyler, N., & Mitchell, J. (2019, July). Background and design of a qualitative study on globally responsible decision-making in civil engineering. In Proceedings of the 8th Research in Engineering Education Symposium, REES 2019-Making Connections (Vol. 8, pp. 211-220). REEN (Research in Engineering Education Network) and SASEE (South African Society for Engineering Education). (Download here or here.)

CHANCE, S. M., Direito, I., & Mitchell, J. (forthcoming). To what degree do graduate civil engineers working in London enact Global Responsibility and support UN Sustainable Development Goals? Engineering Education for Sustainable Development (EESD 2020) conference in Cork, Ireland.

The same UK-based engineering study will yield a number of journal articles. The conference paper on Sustainable Development Goals, listed above, was produced for the Engineering Education for Sustainable Development (EESD 2020) conference and is being expanded into a journal article. Moreover, the two following manuscripts have been drafted and are currently being reviewed and refined:

CHANCE, S. M., Mitchell, J., Direito, I., & Creswell-Maynard, K. (accepted for development). Limited by scope and client request: Challenges faced by early-career civil engineers enacting global responsibility in the UK workplace. European Journal of Engineering Education Special Issue: Early Career Engineers and the Development of Engineering Expertise.

CHANCE, S. M., Lawlor, R., Direito, I., Creswell-Maynard, K., & Mitchell, J. (under development). Ethical empowerment: A proposal for following past success to support sustainable behavior among civil engineers. Australasian Journal of Engineering Education. Special Issue: Ethics in Engineering Education and Practice.

Closely related to this UK engineering study is work I have done with the PhD student I have been supervising. The student’s doctoral thesis investigates how creativity is manifest in engineering design and production. The two following papers have been published and presented at conferences—they helped apply the student’s research on engineering organizations to higher education organizations—and many more journal papers are under development by the same team, to be submitted to various journals.

Empson, T., CHANCE, S. M., & Patel, S. (2019). A critical analysis of the contextual pressures sustainable development presents HE researchers and evaluators. Society for Research on Higher Education (SRHE) 2019 conference in Cardiff, UK.

Empson, T., CHANCE, S. M., & Patel, S. (2019, September). A critical analysis of ‘creativity’ in sustainable production and design. In 21st International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education. Glasgow, UK. (Download here or here).

All the projects listed above were helping build my skills to conduct the headline project of this Work Package. For this headline project, I conducted in-depth interviews with 26 architecture and civil engineering students in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and the USA. This yielded a paper for the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), one of the world’s most prominent conferences on engineering education:

CHANCE, S., Mimirinis, M., Direito, I., Mitchell, J., & Tilley, E. (2019, June). How architecture and engineering students conceptualize design creation: Report of a pilot study. In American Society for Engineering Education (Vol. 126). American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). Tampa, Florida. (Download here or here).

Two manuscripts are now under development using the data collected. These will make a major contribution to the knowledge base related to design education:

CHANCE, S. M., Miminiris, M., & Direito, I. (under development). How architecture and engineering students conceptualize design creation. Targeting the Journal of Engineering Education or similar.

CHANCE, S. M., Miminiris, M., & Direito, I. (under development). How architecture and engineering students conceptualize the generation of new knowledge. Targeting Design Studies or similar.

By attending a May 2018 workshop at the Society for Research on Higher Education (SRHE), I discovered phenomenography would be the optimal methodology for studying the issue defined in my MSCA grant application. As a result, UCL brought in the teacher of the SRHE workshop, Dr. Mike Miminiris, and employed him as a consultant to help me and my colleagues learn this highly structured research methodology. Dr. Miminiris provided a seminar for UCL staff and has guided me, and other researchers from UCL’s Centre for Engineering Education, through the phenomenographical analysis process.

I made some minor deviations from the work plan originally proposed in my MSCA application; however, these alterations did not alter the intent of the work. For instance, I had proposed to work across sectors with the UK’s Creative Industries Foundation, but ultimately worked instead with UNESCO, Engineers without Borders UK (EWBUK) and the UK’s Royal Academy of Engineering. I originally envisioned collecting data from participants in Ireland, Portugal, Poland and the United Kingdom, but ultimately my data were collected in Ireland, Portugal, the United States and the United Kingdom. I also honed the specific research questions, developing upon the originally envisioned themes of each work package, by making the sub-questions more precise within the major theme while maintaining the intent to investigate:

  • Gender (supporting diversity)
  • Epistemic cognition
  • Outcomes of design-based learning pedagogies

WP2, Multiple Methods in Research

I also shifted the intention of WP2 slightly after getting the Fellowship underway. I focused my efforts on “multiple methodologies” in engineering education research rather than solely “mixed methods” as originally proposed. This shift in definition allowed me to learn a wider range of research techniques. For instance, changes to WP2 allowed study of the psychological construct of grit.

Learning to work collaboratively as part of a highly effective research team was a major outcome of this fellowship. Another shift in WP2 was that, while I originally anticipated developing and conducting my own survey to extend WP1, I was able to learn more by working with psychologist Dr. Inês Direito to design and implement a quantitative survey for use at UCL. That study was presented/published via the Research in Engineering Education Symposium (REES) in Cape Town in July 2019.

Many researchers use a single methodology, or a highly focused set of similar methodologies, to answer their questions. Thus, they tend to ask questions that can be answered with the methodologies they know. As this particular MSCA Fellow aims to conduct research projects that address a wide array of research questions, I need to develop mastery of many different methods. This way, I can use the most appropriate research method for answering each type of question when it arises. Therefore, the intention of WP2 was to build my skills in new methodologies, and also to help build the skills of the larger engineering education research (EER) community by infusing knowledge about these methodologies.

In the MSCA grant application, the following deliverables were promised under WP2: submission of one conference paper and one journal manuscript. Under WP2, however, I have already delivered five conference presentations, three published journal articles, four conference presentations, and one encyclopedia entry. In addition, I have two conference manuscripts underway. Details are provided below.

The first major project under WP2 had two focus points: (1) comparing two different methodologies and applying these methodologies to (2) study engineering teachers’ experiences implementing design- and problem-based learning. A major publication resulted:

CHANCE, S. M., Duffy, G., & Bowe, B. (2019). Comparing grounded theory and phenomenology as methods to understand lived experience of engineering educators implementing Problem-Based Learning. European Journal of Engineering Education, DOI: 10.1080/03043797.2019.1607826. (Download here or here).

The content was also delivered at a leading conference:

CHANCE, S. M. & Duffy, G. (2018). A model for spurring organizational change based on faculty experiences working together to implement Problem-Based Learning. American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Download here, here, or here).

The above publications are part of a larger effort by this Fellow to support diverse students. As a result of this MSCA, I have emerged as a highly visible member and leader of the EER community globally. As part of this community, I am trying to develop better teaching practices (androgies, or pedagogies for adults). To support this effort, I co-authored an overview on socio-cultural diversity in engineering education that was published in a leading journal:

CHANCE, S., Bottomly, L., Panetta, K., & Williams, B. (Eds.). (November 2018). Guest Editorial Statement for the Special Issue on Increasing the Socio-Cultural Diversity of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Related Fields. IEEE Transactions on Education, (61)4, 261-264. DOI 10.1109/TE.2018.2871656. (Download here).

Work conducted via WP2 also helped inform an encyclopedia entry I authored:

CHANCE, S. M. (2020). Problem-Based Learning: Use in Engineering Disciplines. In Amey, M. J. & David, M. E. (Eds.). The SAGE Encyclopedia of Higher Education, 5v. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Under WP2, I also interviewed 20 women studying engineering in Ireland. This added to the set of interviews I had previously conducted, and it is allowing me to produce longitudinal studies on women’s experiences learning engineering and working in engineering teams. Data analyzed to date focus on the experiences of: (a) a single mother studying engineering and overcoming challenges and (b) Middle Eastern women studying engineering in Ireland. In the future, journal articles will be prepared, related to both topics. Already-published work on this project includes one conference publication on the single mother:

Williams, B., CHANCE, S. M., & Direito, I. (2019). No one really minded a female barmaid, but I don’t know they’d “not mind” a female engineer: One student’s journey. UK-Ireland Engineering Education Research Network 2019 conference in Coventry, UK. (Download here).

Already-published work on this project also includes multiple conference papers about Middle Eastern students’ experiences:

CHANCE, S. M., & Williams, B. (forthcoming). Here you have to be mixing: Collaborative learning on an engineering program in Ireland as experienced by a group of Middle Eastern young women. EDUCON2020 – IEEE Global Engineering Education Conference in Porto, Portugal.

CHANCE, S. M. & Williams, W. (2018). Preliminary findings of a phenomenological study of Middle Eastern women’s experiences studying engineering in Ireland. American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Download here or here).

An additional report of the Middle Eastern students’ experiences was also presented at the following conference but was inadvertently omitted from the proceedings:

CHANCE, S. M. & Williams, W. (2018). Middle Eastern Women’s Experiences of Collaborative Learning in Engineering in Ireland. International Conference on Interactive Collaborative Learning (ICL) in Kos Island, Greece. (Download here).

In a similar vein to the study on Middle Eastern women studying in Ireland, an additional conference paper has been drafted that relates to people studying engineering abroad: 

Direito, I., Williams, W., & CHANCE, S. M. (under development). Brexit impact: Perspectives of Portuguese students and staff in the UK. The 4th International Conference of the Portuguese Society for Engineering Education (CISPEE 2020) in Lisbon, Portugal. (This one we shifted to SEFI 2020 since COVID postponed the CISPEE conference.)

At the start of this MSCA, I and my colleague at UCL decided they also wanted to learn to conduct systematic literature reviews. They published individual studies using this methodology at the Societe Europeenne pour la Formation des Ingenieurs (SEFI) conference in 2018, and they joined with a third colleague they met there to later conduct workshops on the topic and publish a journal article collaboratively. The citation below is for our initial conference paper:

CHANCE, S., & Direito, I. (2018, October). Identification and preliminary review of doctoral theses in engineering education that have used phenomenological methods. In Proceedings of the 46th SEFI Annual Conference 2018. Creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship for engineering education excellence. Societe Europeenne pour la Formation des Ingenieurs (SEFI). Copenhagen, Denmark. (Download here).

After joining together, the team selected one of the initial conference papers and developed it into a journal article on the construct of grit and how it has been studied in engineering education.

Direito, I., CHANCE, S. M., & Malik, M. (2019). The study of grit in engineering education research: A systematic literature review. European Journal of Engineering Education. DOI: 10.1080/03043797.2019.1688256. (Download here).

My colleagues and I were able to study and critically evaluate how grit has been researched and reported in engineering education and formulate recommendations to guide others reporting work on grit in EER. This was one of the studies where my colleagues and I were practicing the research methodology known as “systematic literature review” which lead to multiple conference papers as well as the journal article listed above.

Direito, I., CHANCE, S., Tilley, E., & Mitchell, J. (2019, July). Assessing the grit and mindset of incoming engineering students with an emphasis on gender. In Proceedings of the 8th Research in Engineering Education Symposium (REES 2019) (Vol. 8, pp. 253-261). REEN (Research in Engineering Education Network) and SASEE (South African Society for Engineering Education). (Download here or here).

Research Methods of Philosophers

Philosophy symposium 1

Philosophers sometimes use primary documents in ways not much different from the historians I mentioned in my previous blog. According to Yale:

Primary sources provide first-hand testimony or direct evidence concerning a topic under investigation. They are created by witnesses or recorders who experienced the events or conditions being documented. Often these sources are created at the time when the events or conditions are occurring, but primary sources can also include autobiographies, memoirs, and oral histories recorded later. Primary sources are characterized by their content, regardless of whether they are available in original format, in microfilm/microfiche, in digital format, or in published format.

For historians, primary documents include photographs, letters, news clippings and the like. For philosophers, I’d say they could include original texts where an idea first appeared in written form. As a social science researcher, I myself am collecting audio-taped testimonies of female students who have first-hand experience of first-year engineering education. All three of these examples–philosophy, history, and social science research–involve high levels of interpretation of documents, ideas, and stories contributed by others.

Whereas my historian friend, Cecilia Hartsell, is investigating phenomena that include both the 1916 Uprising as well as the return of soldiers from WWI, my colleagues in philosophy spent a recent weekend discussing the phenomena of intentionality and normativity. These historians and philosophers seek to understand the context of events and ideas arising in the past, and what the authors of various documents meant at the time they spoke, or wrote.

 

february-workshopI joined a group of philosophers for a February 19-20, 2016 seminar that explored various aspects of phenomenology. The event was hosted by the School of Philosophy at the University College of Dublin but held at Newman House, on Saint Stephen’s Green in Dublin.

Attending the seminar, I learned much more about phenomenology. I also learned more about the way philosophers think, study, generate new knowledge and new understandings, communicate with each other, test ideas, and seek to uncover the complex meanings embedded in writings by philosophers throughout the ages.

I am indebted to Prof. Dermot Moran and Dr. Elisa Magrì for inviting the public to their event so that I could attend, and to DIT’s new PhD student, Diana Adela Martin, for notifying me about the event.

Much of the discussion focused on phenomenology, which is both a philosophy and a social science research methodology. I’m currently using the methodology to study women’s experiences of STEM education, and will submit later this week a manuscript on another phenomenological research study of teachers’ experiences working together to implement Problem-Based Learning at Dublin Institute of Technology.

Related to experience, I must admit that visiting Newman House was an exquisite one. In this house, John Henry Newman founded University College Dublin (originally called the Catholic University of Ireland). I believe that he later became a cardinal and was beatified by the Catholic Church, despite the fact that his views did not always match the official sanctioned interpretations of the Church. Today, one can visit Newman Houses on campuses world wide, like the one I attended while a student at Virginia Tech. I’ve attached photos of the formal entry hall at UCD’s Newman House, for your enjoyment. I got so caught up in discussions at each coffee break that I never made it all the way to the lovely formal garden behind the house. Maybe next time!