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Publication - Dr Katharina Burger

    Integrating Problem Solving and Research Methods Teaching for Systems Practice in Engineering


    Yearworth, M, Edwards, G, Davis, JP, Burger, KM & Terry, AJ, 2013, ‘Integrating Problem Solving and Research Methods Teaching for Systems Practice in Engineering’. in: CJJ Paredis, C Bishop, D Bodner (eds) 11th Annual Conference on Systems Engineering Research (CSER '13). Amsterdam:Elsevier


    Problem solving and research methods apparently sit within different traditions of development evidenced by disparate sources of literature. However, in the graduate education of engineers taking an Engineering Doctorate (EngD) Program in Systems there is a need for their integration in such a way as to make their relationship clear. We argue from experience of course delivery and project supervision that research methods from business and management need to support a generic problem solving approach – informed from the Problem Structuring Methods (PSM) literature, and specifically Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) – such that they provide the rigorous evidence needed at any stage of a problem solving cycle to move a project forward i.e. there is a clear hierarchy with a problem solving approach providing the prevailing methodology for systems practice in engineering and research methods supplying the means to generate answers to specific questions as they arise. We specifically discuss the special role of action research as both a problem solving and a research methodology and its relevance to engineering education.

    Full details in the University publications repository