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In-DEPTH B INTERVIEWS: INTERVIEWERâS GUIDE Introduction â¢ Explain the idea of the IDI. â¢ This is being taped so that I donât have to take notes while you are giving your opinions. . . . â¢ We just want to hear your opinions. . . . There are no right or wrong answers. Just looking for different perspectives. â¢ Please speak up when you talk. . . . â¢ If you have any questions or additional comments, please go right ahead at any time. We have a good deal of material to cover in a short time; feel free to ask questions, but we will need to keep the conversation moving. . . . Engineering Weâre working with the National Academy of Engineering, and today weâre going to talk about what people think about engineers in general as well as careers in engineering. 115
116 CHANGING THE CONVERSATION â¢ Please tell me a little about what you do in your job. â What is your title? â How long have you been in your current position? â¢ What are the first words or phrases that come to mind when you think about âengineeringâ? PROBE: Are there any negative words or phrases that come to mind when you think about engineers or engineering? â PROBE: What do you think when a young person says he or she wants to become an engineer? â¢ What kind of person is an engineer? What traits and charac- teristics does an engineer have? PROBE FOR EXAMPLES â¢ Thinking back, what was your first memorable experience with engineering? With someone who was an engineer? What was that person like? â What got you interested in engineering, if you are interested? â¢ How do you explain engineering to make it more interesting other people? To children? â¢ FOR ENGINEERS: What prejudices about engineering do you encounter when you tell people you are an engineer? â PROBE: What misconceptions do people have about what you and other engineers do? â PROBE: How have perceptions about engineering changed since you first became an engineer? IF CHANGED: What caused those opinions to change? â PROBE: Do you think engineering and engineers are taken for granted? â¢ FOR ENGINEERS: What would you like to change about the publicâs image of engineers and engineering? How would you change it?
Appendix B 117 â What is right with engineering? â PROBE: What effect does engineeringâs image have on the long-term health of your profession? â¢ How do you think engineering is seen as a profession by most people? What image do you think engineering has among school-age children? â PROBE: How have perceptions about engineering changed in the last few decades? Have they changed? IF CHANGED: What caused those opinions to change? â Where do you see the image of engineering and engineers in ten years? In twenty years? What should it be? â What areas of engineering will be more prominent? Chemical, civil, electrical, industrial, manufacturing, mechanical, biochemical? Others? Why? Which will be less prominent? Why? â¢ Have you seen anything that others have done to promote engineering? PROBE FOR SPECIFICS. â¢ What do you think should be done to promote a more positive image of engineering? What are the specific images or messages about engineering that the field should be emphasizing? â What should the field of engineering NOT be promoting? Why not? â¢ What do you think of othersâ efforts to cultivate greater public awareness of engineering? PROBE: National Engineers Week? Competitions? Tool kits for teachers and guidance counselors; mentor programs; school-to-work training; cable television shows? â PROBE: What do you think has worked? What do you think didnât/doesnât work? How could these efforts be re- directed or made better? â PROBE: Are these efforts targeted at the right audiences?
118 CHANGING THE CONVERSATION â¢ Why would a child be interested in engineering? What things about engineering do you think could be emphasized to make engineering more appealing to children? To students consider- ing studying engineering at college? To young people consider- ing engineering as a career? â What visual images of engineering do you think make engineering more appealing? Which images make engi- neering less appealing? â¢ What would you tell a student who asked you about a career in engineering? Where would you send them for more information? â What could make a career in engineering more appealing to young people? â¢ Can you name any engineers who are widely known? â PROBE: Who is the face of engineering? Who would be a good spokesperson for engineering? â¢ What is a good example of engineering at work today? PROBE: What are the success stories that engineering should be telling? â Some people say scientists get all the credit for scientific advances, and architects get all the credit for buildings and other projects, but engineers get only the blame when a disaster happens. Do agree that this is the case? Why/why not? Themes â¢ Iâd like to ask you about some possible themes that could be used to promote engineering. ROTATE THEMES Firstâ¦ â A LIMITLESS IMAGINATION: This theme speaks to the innovative, design-driven nature of engineering.
Appendix B 119 â¢ FOR EACH POSSIBLE THEME, ASK: What do you think of this as a theme to promote engineering? â PROBES: What examples should be used to illuminate this theme? What images should be associated with this theme? What examples or images should be avoided? â AN ENTERPRISING SPIRIT: This theme recognizes the inventive spirit and pioneering contributions of the field. â FREE TO EXPLORE: This theme evokes the constant jour- ney that is the engineerâs quest for new solutions. â IDEAS IN ACTION: This theme underscores how engi- neering uniquely bridges the world of science with the real world. â PROBE: Is it useful to think of engineers as âreal-world scientistsâ? â SHAPE THE FUTURE: This theme speaks to how engi- neering offers an empowering and rewarding career. â LIFE TAKES ENGINEERING: This theme focuses on the fieldâs essential role and life-changing work. â¢ Of the possible themes we discussed, which do you think will be the most effective? Why? Which do you, personally like the best? Why? Which donât you like? â¢ Can you suggest any other themes like these that could be used to promote engineering? How would it be delivered? At whom would it be targeted? Why? Wrap up â¢ What effect do you think a change in engineeringâs image would have on the field? How about for you, professionally? â¢ Finally, if you could give one piece of marketing communica- tions advice to promote engineering, what would it be?
120 CHANGING THE CONVERSATION â¢ Is there anything you would like to add that we havenât asked about? Thank and dismiss.