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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Study of the scientific reasoning methods: Identifying the salient reasoning characteristics exhibited by engineers and scientists in an R&D environment
by Kuhn, William F., Ed.D., Pepperdine University, 2007, 225; 3282285
Abstract (Summary)

At the core of what it means to be a scientist or engineer is the ability to think rationally using scientific reasoning methods. Yet, typically if asked, scientist and engineers are hard press for a reply what that means. Some may argue that the meaning of scientific reasoning methods is a topic for the philosophers and psychologist, but this study believes and will prove that the answers lie with the scientists and engineers, for who really know the workings of the scientific reasoning thought process than they.

This study will provide evidence to the aims: (a) determine the fundamental characteristics of cognitive reasoning methods exhibited by engineer/scientists working in R&D projects, (b) sample the engineer/scientist community to determine their views as to the importance, frequency, and ranking of each of characteristics towards benefiting their R&D projects, (c) make concluding remarks regarding any identified competency gaps in the exhibited or expected cognitive reasoning methods of engineer/scientists working on R&D projects. To drive these aims are the following three research questions. The first, what are the salient characteristics of cognitive reasoning methods exhibited by engineer/scientists in an R&D environment? The second, what do engineer/scientists consider to be the frequency and importance of the salient cognitive reasoning methods characteristics? And the third, to what extent, if at all, do patent holders and technical fellows differ with regard to their perceptions of the importance and frequency of the salient cognitive reasoning characteristics of engineer/scientists?

The methodology and empirical approach utilized and described: (a) literature search, (b) Delphi technique composed of seven highly distinguish engineer/scientists, (c) survey instrument directed to distinguish Technical Fellowship, (d) data collection analysis. The results provide by Delphi Team answered the first research question. The collaborative effort validated presented characteristic and most importantly presents ten additional novel or new reasoning characteristics. These characteristics were then presented and evaluated by the Technical Fellows. Their findings answered the second and third research question. With interesting results including the data indicating "imagination" as highest in importance and frequency, and comparison analysis of the patent holders showing those having five or more patents significantly valued "intuition (independent).

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Leigh, Doug
School: Pepperdine University
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 68/09, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Science education
Keywords: Engineers, Imagination, Intuition, Reasoning, Research and development, Scientific reasoning, Scientists
Publication Number: 3282285
ISBN: 978-0-549-23647-4
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