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Investigating Student Approaches to Rearranging Circuit Diagrams

Ridgway, Leah orcid logoORCID: 0009-0006-9296-9231 and Cox, Tom (2024) Investigating Student Approaches to Rearranging Circuit Diagrams. IEEE Transactions on Education . ISSN 1557-9638

Abstract— Contribution: This study uses a qualitative research method to analyze interviews where participants simplified an electric circuit while explaining their thought process. Background: Rearranging circuit diagrams is a fundamental skill in electrical and electronic engineering, yet students can struggle with unfamiliar configurations. Current research in the discipline is often quantitative, centered on conceptual understanding. By using a qualitative method, the process of ‘how’ students interact with circuit diagrams is investigated. Research Question: How do students approach circuit diagram simplifications? Methodology: 15-minute individual discussions with 10 participants (undergraduate Years 1–4) simplifying an unconventionally-presented circuit diagram were recorded. Reflexive thematic analysis was used to identify common themes. Findings: 1. Participants initially rely upon pattern recognition to solve circuit problems before applying other analysis techniques. 2. Two rearrangement methods were identified: ‘component focused’, where combinations of components are grouped and then connected together, and ‘ground focused’ where components in the circuit are related to ground and then connected together. 3. Students using a ground focused strategy were less hesitant in their circuit rearrangement process. 4. Students broadly used mechanicalistic methods of error checking, selecting software tools rather than applying conceptual understanding.
Item Type:Article (Published)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Circuit diagrams, Engineering education, Qualitative methods, Student learning, Thematic analysis
DCU Faculties and Centres:UNSPECIFIED
Publisher:Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Official URL:https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/10577445
Copyright Information:Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
ID Code:30120
Deposited On:02 Jul 2024 13:54 by Vidatum Academic . Last Modified 02 Jul 2024 13:54

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