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What's the 'Problem' Statement? An Investigation of Problem-based Writing in a First Year Engineering Program

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posted on 2019-05-14, 17:49 authored by Ashley J VelazquezAshley J Velazquez
Upon IRB approval, a corpus of 1,192 texts consisting of three assignments written by a total of 1,736 first year engineering students was compiled, and 117 pedagogical materials were collected. Using an iterative quantitative-qualitative approach to written discourse analysis, instances of formulaic language (4- and 6-word sequences) were identified in the corpus; formulaic language was then coded for the rhetorical functions expected in problem statements as qualitatively identified in the pedagogical materials. Additionally, three discourse-based interviews were conducted with First-year Engineering Faculty. Interview data was coded for themes of effective communication and used to triangulate the findings from the corpus analysis.




Degree Type

Doctor of Philosophy



Campus location

West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Tony Silva, PhD

Additional Committee Member 2

Shelley Staples, PhD

Additional Committee Member 3

Bradley Dilger, PhD

Additional Committee Member 4

Isabel Jimenez-Useche, PhD

Additional Committee Member 5

Margie Berns, PhD