Opinions of Undergraduate Engineering Students towards an Out-of-Class Research Project

By Zia Collinsfree.

Published by The International Journal of Assessment and Evaluation

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Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: November 7, 2014 Free Download

This research investigated Thai undergraduate engineering students’ opinions of an out-of-class group research project done as part of their assessment in an English for Specific Purposes course. The purpose of the project was a confrontation with real world suffering, rare in conventional university education. Student groups met and interviewed sufferers of industrial diseases and injuries, reporting their findings, opinions and feelings in English. Data was collected through questionnaires (n = 23), reflection sheets, semi-structured interviews with student group representatives (n = 5), a journal of researcher observations for each class and additional observations of two student groups during the project visit. The quantitative data were analysed using means, standard deviations and percentages, while qualitative data were analysed for themes. Students considered the project beneficial in providing a new perspective and knowledge of previously unknown truths. They compared the project favourably with their usual classwork due to its real world content. There was a desire for the project to continue and expand to bring about positive social change.

Keywords: Community Based Research, Outside the Classroom, Project Work, Higher Education

International Journal of Assessment and Evaluation, Volume 20, Issue 4, November 2014, pp.45-64. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: November 7, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 730.281KB)).

Zia Collinsfree

Language Institute, Thammasat University, Bangkok, Thailand