Empathy and care within engineering: qualitative perspectives from engineering faculty and practicing engineers

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Carrie A. Wachter Morris, Associate Professor & School Counseling Coordinator (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to investigate how empathy and care look within an engineering context from the perspective of (1) existing literature (2) engineering faculty and (3) practicing engineers. The project employed three separate, but interrelated studies, including a summative content analysis of the existing literature, a consensual qualitative research analysis of small group interviews with the engineering faculty, and a consensual qualitative research analysis of written responses from practicing engineers to an open-ended question about empathy and care. Thematic analyses of all three studies demonstrated that although empathy and care appear to have a place within engineering and engineering education – particularly given the current trends in engineering towards sustainability, team-oriented design work, and the renaissance engineer of tomorrow – it appears that conversations and awareness of these two constructs may not often be explicitly stated within the literature or frequently addressed by academic and professional engineers. Results from this study help define the role, benefits, and challenges of framing empathy and care within the engineering field. Our analysis and interpretation regarding how these findings parallel and depart from the existing conceptualizations of empathy and care is specified, and implications for engineers and the practice of engineering in general are discussed.

Additional Information

Engineering Studies, 5(3), 137-159
Language: English
Date: 2013
empathy, care, engineering education

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