The chemical engineering research laboratory as context for graduate students’ training: The role of lab structure and cultural climate in collaborative work

John Jongho Park, Nathan Hyungsok Choe, Diane L. Schallert, Alexander K. Forbis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

The current study investigated the experiences of engineering graduate students in two interdisciplinary research laboratories studying materials engineering, their perceptions of influences on their learning and goals, and the collaborative tasks needed to produce quality journal articles. In a qualitative inquiry using constant comparison methods, data came from individual interviews of lab members and observations. Findings coalesced in three themes. First, the lab structure and lines of communication seemed to influence group collaboration and individual learning. Second, the importance of peer collaboration seemed crucial to students’ knowledge acquisition through lab work. Finally, a lab's climate and culture influenced individuals’ productivity and motivation to participate in research, sometimes facilitating, sometimes impeding progress in becoming fully participating lab members. Contributions include providing a better understanding of how engineering graduate students’ lives in the lab are situated and intertwined with group collaborative processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-122
Number of pages10
JournalLearning, Culture and Social Interaction
Volume13
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education

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