Sample Research Assignments

Access Engineering maps Case studies to ABET learning outcomes. See examples.

Below are some sample assignments that instructors may use in their distribution courses. This might be relevant to:

Outcome #7 the ability to acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies and the progress indicators:

Performance Indicator A: Students identify, access, and evaluate relevant information.
Performance Indicator B: Students recognize the need for new knowledge or skills and find and implement appropriate learning strategies

  1. Materials Properties - What is the thermal expansion coefficient of Pure Copper using Knovel's database? When might you use this database for your own work?
  2. Scholarly research literature  - Using the databases on the home page of this guide, locate several peer-reviewed articles and popular (trade journal or newpaper) articles on a topic. Which sources are more credible and why? See these suggestions on how to critically analyze sources of information.
  3. Patents - Using Google Patents, locate a patent on a topic of interest. Using it or Derwent Innovations Index, locate the top 3 highest cited patents in this area. Learn how to search by assignee, inventor, and other advanced features.
  4. Standards - search ASTM (American Society for Testing of Materials) for standard test methods used to find Young's Modulus and Poisson's Ratio for Glass.

The articles at the end of this page discuss various information competencies from freshmen to seniors. Some examples:

Freshmen - locating information - learn where to find reserve and other books in the library, where to ask for help from library staff.

Sophomores - locating, and analyzing information - locating relevant databases in their discipline and being able to search for articles using relevant keywords. Being able to narrow a search. Distinguishing scholarly from popular literature.

Juniors - locating, analyzing, synthesizing information. Able to provide a critical analysis of the source of information. Being able to name relevant major reference books, journals, and databases in their chosen field. Basic understanding of types of information sources (standards, conference proceedings, patents).

Seniors - locating, analyzing, synthesizing information. Knowing how and where to search for patents, standards, technical reports and use in their work. Knowing the major professional associations in one's field. Being able to include multidisciplinary information.

Relevant articles

Nerz, Honora, Lisa Bullard. "The Literate Engineer: Infusing Information Literacy Skills Throughout An Engineering Curriculum." American Society for Engineering Education, 2006 Annual Conference. Link.

Weiner, Suzanne, Honora Nerz. "Information Competencies: A Strategic Approach." American Society for Engineering Education, 2001 Annual Conference. Link

Fosmire, Michael and David Radcliffe. "Integrating Information into the Engineering Design Process." Purdue University Press, West Lafayette, Indiana, 2014.