The importance of problem interpretation for engineering students

Gay Lemons, Adam Carberry, Chris Swan, Chris Rogers, Linda Jarvin

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This study used Verbal Protocol Analysis (VPA) to investigate the cognitive process of 8 undergraduate engineering students during a hands-on model building design task. The present paper will focus on one aspect that emerged from this research: the paramount importance of correctly interpreting the problem. Although this may seem simplistic, correctly framing or interpreting the problem (which is distinct from identifying the problem) was a crucial and pivotal point for these students. Without it, the developmental process stalled and the design path became more haphazard. Once students were able to correctly interpret the problem, their path to a viable solution progressed much more smoothly and efficiently.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes
Event2010 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - Louisville, KY, United States
Duration: Jun 20 2010Jun 23 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)


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