Humanities: Science and Technology Studies, Education, Qualitative Methods

Department: Engineering and Society

Supervising Faculty Member: Caitlin Wylie

Specialization: Science and Technology Studies, Education, Qualitative Methods

Research Focus: I'm studying how graduate students and undergraduates learn to work together to do research in engineering. There are many studies about the benefits for undergrads of doing research with graduate students, but we know little about how graduate students experience being research mentors for undergrads. I suspect there are benefits for grad students, such as improved communication skills and learning interdisciplinary ideas from undergrads. I use qualitative methods (i.e., interviews, participant observation) to study how graduate and undergraduate students interact and what they learn from each other while they work together.

Position Description: You'll transcribe and analyze interviews of students and faculty, and you'll help me analyze my observation data. You'll read and evaluate publications related to this study, including papers on science and engineering education, laboratory norms and hierarchies, and the development of professional identity.

Required skills: You must be a reliable and responsible worker who respects the rules of confidentiality in research on human subjects. Important skills for this project include attention to detail and willingness to read and think carefully. Experience learning about or conducting social research methods (such as interviews and observation) would be helpful, but is not required.

Training/certification: I'll help you earn IRB certification for social research.

What you will learn: By working on this study, I hope you'll learn how to:
1. Think critically about the relationships between science, technology, and society
2. Understand and critique published social research studies
3. Work with and analyze data from social research methods, and understand good social research practices

Web site link to research: http://www.eands.virginia.edu/faculty-staff/wylie/