Aarin Walston


America Fernandez


October 20, 2014


Research Proposal for Inquiry into the Discipline of Engineering Leadership

In what follows, I introduce my research project, provide background information on the project
and a review of literature, and discuss my research procedure and methodology. I submit this
research proposal for your review and approval.

My research paper is to address my concerns and questions about my discipline; Engineering
Leadership and its discourse community within the College of Engineering. As an undergraduate
student in a brand new degree, I need to understand the hierarchy so that I may be successful in
my major and therefore have opportunities available to me after graduation. The purpose of this
inquiry is to collect information through several methodologies, which will be discussed in the
body of the work. The evaluation and interpretation of the information gathered will explain how
a student who enters a new discourse community as an amateur can adjust themselves closer to a
position of power within the discourse community. By analyzing several components related to a
discourse community, I will prove that students who successfully comprehend these factors
facilitate their own position within their discipline and determine their future success.

Literature Review/Background

The role of the General Composition Course has a totally different meaning than the one we see
as students. Our professors have been forced to change their teaching methods and the way they
introduce writing styles to us. When the instructor targets the introduction to disciplinary styles
correctly the students are prepared to successfully write what the discipline demands. Writing is
something that can be learned but it cannot be taught.

“Conviction of Language” means that a person who is willing to write effectively has to avoid
skeptical words that introduce their opinions such as “I feel that”, “My understanding is”, “I
believe” to mention a few. To have the conviction of language means that you are sure about
what you are stating in your research or analysis. If you want to be able to convince other people
of what you are saying you need to make it look like you are sure about something and not only
wondering if you are correct or not. People like to read facts when it comes to research and not

In order for someone to be able to write according to their discipline they have to understand the
context in which one is writing and how their community communicates information. This article
explains how not every discipline writes the same way and how it could be harder for different
disciplines to communicate ideas since some of them have very different writing styles.


My research will consist on several methods to develop a full and deep analysis on the
Engineering Leadership discipline. Some of the methods include interviews, surveys, the
analysis of research papers, class descriptions and syllabi, degree proposals, and site
observations of the environment where the community interacts.

Interviews: The interviews are what I would consider the most important part of my research, the
feedback and the response from the professors are going to help me gain more background on
my discipline. Usually professors are the ones who have been in the program for the longest time
and they have seen it evolve with time. Their involvement with the community is very active and
they know most of the students and staff that makeup the discourse community.

Surveys: The surveys are going to be filled by several engineering students from different
classifications to get their opinion on how the discourse community and the degree in general
works. I am hoping to get a positive response from my fellow classmates, but I am also open to
take into account their disagreements and what they think is going wrong.

Document Analyses: The documents I am going to analyze are mainly the resources that have
more information about my discipline like the website, the class syllabus, the degree proposal,
and several other research papers conducted by some of the professors.

Site Observations: I observed a great variety of differences inside the different sections of my
college and between the College of Engineering and the library. As we discussed earlier this
week in class, some colleges have "privileges", no wonder why the the Computer Science and

College of Engineering website never get hacked as the College of Science or the Liberal Arts
website do. The College of Engineering is one of the oldest buildings on campus but several
additions have been made to the building and it is easy to tell which ones are new and which
ones have been like that for as long as many students and professors can remember. Recently the
College of engineering was refurnished and some reparations have been made in the skybridge
that connects the Engineering Building and the Classroom Building, including a new
"convenience store" were you can buy essential food items without having to walk all the way to
the Union or other food providers around campus. Even though the library is one of the oldest
buildings on campus, it looks somehow new since it is very well taken care of and very
conservative architectural wise. They have had some issues this past month with the Wi-Fi not
working, their printers jamming and not working and the fire alarm going off accidentally. There
is somehow a consistency in the architecture of the building from the outside, but it is not hard to
know which ones have been here for a long time.

The expectations of this research are very high, I hope I can deeply understand how the
community interacts in their own environment, why the people outside the community assume
most of the engineers are loners or socially awkward. I hope my paper can properly introduce
other students interested in the discipline and also the ones who are not in the Engineering
Leadership degree and its advantages. I am also trying to find some of the flaws in the system
and a way people inside the discourse community are thinking of fixing them. The more
information I am able to provide to other people the better the research will help me and others
understand everything involving engineering.