Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching and Learning

First Committee Member

Hasan Deniz

Second Committee Member

Randall Boone

Third Committee Member

Merryn Cole

Fourth Committee Member

Tiberio Garza

Fifth Committee Member

Mohamed Trabia

Number of Pages



Nature of Engineering (NOE) refers to the epistemological beliefs pertaining to engineering (Antink-Meyer & Brown, 2019; Deniz et al., 2019; Hartman & Bell, 2018; Kaya et al., 2017; Pleasants & Olson, 2019). Given that a person’s engineering values and beliefs can affect how that individual perceives not only certain tasks, but also his/her ability to accomplish them, it is important to support pre-college teachers and students in improving their NOE understanding. This continues to be one of the main goals of pre-college Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education, and has become particularly relevant since the release of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in 2013. NGSS elevated the engineering design process to the level of scientific inquiry and focused on the aspects of NOE implicitly. Just as researchers have been calling for a greater emphasis on the understanding the Nature of Science (NOS) during the last fifty years, including the need for K-12 students to develop adequate NOS views, students today need to be better informed on the key NOE aspects in order to appreciate and understand engineering. Recently, some researchers have attempted to explore relevant NOE aspects for K-12 students with the aim of generating more sophisticated views of NOE among students. However, at present, assessment of NOE understanding, which is a fundamental part of NOE research, is a challenge, due to the absence of a reliable instrument. It is therefore imperative to develop a NOE instrument that can be adopted in pre-college engineering instruction, as the findings yielded can help close the gap between learners’ NOE conceptions and the actual engineering practice. Most importantly, pre-college engineering education can be modified by using a spectrum of instructional methods geared toward enhancing learners’ NOE understanding. This was the aim of the proposed study, and it was achieved by accomplishing the following two goals: (a) describing the NOE aspects relevant to K-12 education based on the NGSS and the National Research Councils’ Framework for K-12 Science Education; (b) developing a new empirical, reliable, and valid open-ended Nature of Engineering Instrument – Version B (VNOE-B), in part derived from a Views of the Nature of Engineering (VNOE) questionnaire designed to assess learners’ NOE perceptions. This research mainly focused on the development and validation of the VNOE-B questionnaire while also discussing the implications of the use of the new VNOE-B questionnaire in educational practice. It is envisaged that the findings yielded by this investigation will guide the science and engineering education community in devising the most appropriate ways to help students and teachers develop fully-informed NOE views.


Epistemology of Engineering; K-12 Engineering Education; Nature of Engineering; Nature of Engineering Assessment; Nature of Engineering Instrument


Education | Engineering | Science and Mathematics Education

File Format


File Size

1800 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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