© 2016 American Society for Engineering Education

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doi: 10.18260/p.27186


Eleven years ago two NSF-funded programs aimed at fostering the development of a Community of Practice (CoP) among engineering education researchers, the Rigorous Research in Engineering Education (RREE) and the Institute for Scholarship on Engineering Education (ISEE), were initiated. The RREE and ISSE programs involved approximately 200 (147 RREE and 48 ISEE) faculty members in workshops and other professional development learning experiences that helped them become aware of and learn how to navigate the nuances of conducting engineering education research (EER) that met the standards of any scholarly field.

While big-data analytics can be applied to show evidence of a developed and existing community of practice among past participants of the RREE and ISEE programs, individual stories of “becoming engineering education researchers” are impossible to capture using such techniques. In order to gain insights of the lived experiences from some participants after more than 10 years since their experience in these programs, we took a qualitative approach and conducted semi-structured interviews using photo elicitation.

So far we have collectively interviewed a total of 37 past participants, 21 for RREE and 16 for ISEE. This paper focuses on the results from the RREE past participants. We used a protocol that was divided into two main sections: I. eliciting engineering education research stories and II. becoming an engineering education researcher. This paper will report on section one where participants were asked to submit three photos or images that they felt were good representations of: (1) themselves before participating in the workshops, (2) where they see themselves presently and (3) where they hope to be in the future.

In this paper we will describe the common themes associated with the photos/images in terms of how participants identified with the photos/images and their justification for choosing them. The idea behind this approach is that through the selection of photos/images participants are able to not only produce a visual progression of their identity since the workshops, but to also serve as a starting point for verbalizing connections in their experiences they may have long forgotten existed. This paper will add to the body of literature that seeks to uncover stories or information that might be difficult to voice or describe.


Photo elicitation, engineering education research (EER), communities of practice, belonging, engineering faculty lives

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