Quantitative investigation of engineering graduate student conceptions and processes of academic writing

Catherine Berdanier, Ellen Zerbe

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Though many writing researchers link the role of writing with disciplinary socialization, there is little research outside of anecdotal evidence on how engineering graduate students in particular conceptualize and relate to the writing process. These affective components of writing are as necessary as the cognitive activities in terms of developing successful graduate engineering writers. To meet this gap, the present study shows survey data from N=210 graduate engineering students at research intensive universities across the United States. The survey comprised three validated writing scales investigating students' conceptions of writing, processes of writing, writing self-efficacy in a single survey deployment. Descriptive statistics show the common processes and conceptions with writing, but Pearson correlations calculated across scales reveal statistically significant relationships among the scale factors, for example that many graduate engineering writers often struggle with a 'trifecta' of low writing self-efficacy, perfectionism, and procrastination. This study extends prior mixed methods and smaller scale quantitative work that has been done in the past with engineering graduate students, and also points to the importance of addressing the layered nature of student issues with writing. Findings are situated in terms of practical recommendations for technical writing researchers and faculty as they help graduate students navigate academic engineering writing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings - 2018 IEEE International Professional Communication Conference, ProComm 2018
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Pages138-145
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781538658574
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 28 2018
Event2018 IEEE International Professional Communication Conference, ProComm 2018 - Toronto, Canada
Duration: Jul 22 2018Jul 25 2018

Publication series

NameIEEE International Professional Communication Conference
Volume2018-July
ISSN (Print)2158-091X
ISSN (Electronic)2158-1002

Other

Other2018 IEEE International Professional Communication Conference, ProComm 2018
CountryCanada
CityToronto
Period7/22/187/25/18

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Engineering(all)

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