This volume aims to provide the reader with a broad cross-section of empirical research being carried out into engineers at work. The chapters provide pointers to other relevant studies over recent decades – an important aspect, we believe, because this area has only recently begun to coalesce as a field of study and up to now relevant empirical research has tended to be published across a range of academic disciplines. This lack of readily available literature might explain why contemporary notions of engineering have drifted far from the realities of practice and are in urgent need of revision.
The principal focus is on what empirical studies tell us about the social and technical aspects of engineering practice and the mutual interaction between the two.
After a foreword by Gary Lee Downey, the research presented by the various chapter authors is based on empirical data from studies of engineers working in a variety of global settings that include Australia, Ireland, Portugal, South Asia, Switzerland, the UK and the US
The following groups of readers are addressed:
•researchers and students with an interest in engineering practice,
•professional engineers, particularly those interested in research on engineering practice,
•people who employ, recruit or work with engineers.
Providing a much clearer picture of engineering practice and its variations than has been available until now, the book is of interest to engineers and those who work with them. At the same time it provides invaluable resource material for educators who are aiming for more authentic learning experiences in their classrooms.
Further information, visit the website Engineering Practice in a Global Context Online: http://epr.ist.utl.pt/EPGC/
Table of Contents
On the historical nature of engineering practice
Antonio Dias de Figueiredo
Towards a theoretical framework for engineering practice
The practical confrontation of engineers with a new design endeavour: The case of digital humanities
Frédéric Kaplan and Dominique Vinck
Engineering design teams: Considering the forests and the trees
Jim Borgford-Parnell, Katherine Deibel, and Cynthia J. Atman
Working together across disciplines
Robin S. Adams and Tiago Forin
Engineering problem-solving in social contexts: ‘Collective wisdom’ and ‘ba’
Rachel Itabashi-Campbell and Julia Gluesing
Finding workable solutions: Portuguese engineering experience
Bill Williams and José Figueiredo
Going back to heterogeneous engineering: The case of micro and nanotechnologies
Matthieu Hubert and Dominique Vinck
Professional lock-in: Structural engineers, architects and the disconnect between discourse and practice
Andrew Chilvers and Sarah Bell
Observations of South Asian engineering practice
Mathematics in engineering practice: Tacit trumps tangible
Eileen Goold and Frank Devitt
Engineers’ professional learning: Through the lens of practice
Donna Rooney, Keith Willey, Anne Gardner, David Boud, Ann Reich, and Terry Fitzgerald
Bill Williams originally trained as a chemist at the National University of Ireland and went on to work in education in Ireland, UK, Eritrea, Kenya, Mozambique and Portugal and to run international distance courses for the International Labour Organization in various African countries.
He is a lecturer at the Barreiro School of Technology of Setubal Polytechnic Institute in Portugal, where he teaches technical communication to civil engineering and construction management undergraduates. He has been an invited lecturer at IST, University of Lisbon and the Technical University of Madrid.
He is an associate member of the Engineering Management and Management Science Research Centre at IST, Lisbon (CEG-IST), has been an active member of the European Working Group on Engineering Education Research of SEFI since its inception in 2009 and is a founder member of the Portuguese Society for Engineering Education (SPEE).
José Figueiredo is a Professor in the Engineering and Management Department of IST – University of Lisbon and a member of the Engineering Management and Management Science Research Centre at IST, Lisbon (CEG-IST). He is an Electronics Engineer with an MBA in Information Management and a PhD in Industrial Engineering. He currently teaches project management and communication skills. His papers in conference proceedings, international journals and international edition book chapters have focused principally on project management and on Actor Network Theory.
In addition to his long-standing involvement with university teaching he also set up two small companies in the information technologies sector. He has been involved in consultancy work with a number of Portuguese and international companies.
Professor James Trevelyan is a Winthrop Professor in the Mechanical and Chemical Engineering School at The University of Western Australia. His main area of research is engineering practice, and he teaches design, sustainability, engineering practice and project management.
He and his students produced the first industrial robot that can be remotely operated via the internet in 1994. The robot has been controlled by a conservatively estimated 500,000 people in dozens of countries.
He was presented with the 1993 Engelberger Science and Technology Award in Tokyo in recognition of his work, and has twice been presented with the Japan Industrial Robot Association award for best papers at ISIR conferences. His teaching has also been well recognised: he was presented with the ASME Award for Mechanical and Mechatronics Teaching at the 2003 AAEE Conference in Melbourne. He has earned four distinguished teaching awards at UWA, and received a further best paper award at the 2004 International Conference on Engineering Education Research conference in the Czech Republic. From 1996 till 2002 he researched landmine clearance methods and his web site is an internationally respected reference point for information on landmines. He was awarded with honorary membership of the Society of Counter Ordnance Technology in 2002 for his efforts, and was also elected a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers Australia.
His recent work on engineering practice aims to understand how engineering work is actually performed, an aspect of engineering that was not previously researched in great depth. This research has helped explain why engineering services in the developed world seem to cost much more than they should, often much more than in industrialised countries, a significant factor inhibiting poverty reduction. Professor Trevelyan is working on education initiatives to enable engineers everywhere to benefit from the insights emerging from this research.
Professor Trevelyan’s web page is: http://www.mech.uwa.edu.au/jpt/ and this has a large amount of supplementary information on his research and teaching.