Document Type




Publication Date

Spring 2017


This study will help better understand the cognitive process students go through in developing their research paper topics by examining how students in selected sections of a freshman engineering writing class come up with an initial topic for their course research paper, how they refine or develop that topic into something they can find adequate research on, and how they shape that topic into a purpose statement for their final research paper. Research methodologies include short online surveys, in-person interviews at the end of the semester, and use of a rubric to assess the final submitted purpose statements for their appropriate focus. The results of this research can illuminate ways that the librarian and the instructors can identify and address the “stuck places” of student research, leading to better pedagogical interventions and well-thought out research papers.


Edward Eckel, University Libraries, shared this poster at the 2017 WMU Assessment Conference on March 17. He was a recipient of one of the 2016-2017 WMU Assessment Fellows Grants to conduct research on assessment of student learning outcomes.