Authors’ perceptions of peer review of conference papers and how they characterise a ‘good’ one

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Conference Proceeding
SEFI Annual Conference 2014, 2014, pp. ? - ? (8)
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Peer review has been the focus of an ongoing study at the 2010, 2011 and 2012 conferences of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education (AAEE) [1 – 3]. We found that the opportunity to use the peer review process to induct people into the field and improve research methods and practice was being missed with almost half of the reviews being rated as 'ineffectual'. The results also highlight the lack of a shared understanding in our community of what constitutes quality research. The study has been extended to explore the AAEE authors’ perspective/s of the potential of peer review to support their development as researchers. This is particularly relevant to our community as engineering education research is still emerging as a recognised research area in Australian universities [4, 5]. Another complicating issue is that most scholars who identify with this emerging field are engineering academics [6] who may hold research qualifications and expertise in their own stereotypical engineering field but are faced with developing new perspectives and expertise when moving into educationally related research [7]. As a result of engineering education research being both emerging and interdisciplinary there is a wide variety of views as to what quality research looks like [6, 8]. The implication for authors is that their work can generate divergent opinions which can be difficult to interpret and/or reconcile for the final version of their paper. A broad objective of this research is to help members of the AAEE community to better understand themselves and their peers as they struggle with the new ideas, methods etc involved in social/educational research compared to positivist perspective of most engineering research. In better understanding themselves and their peers this transition can hopefully be better supported. More specifically the findings of this project can inform future strategies of professional associations such as AAEE and SEFI in regards to both supporting members in becoming engineering education researchers and in managing their annual conferences to that end.
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