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Gainsburg, J., Rodriguez-Lluesma, C., & Bailey, D. (2010). A “knowledge profile” of an engineering occupation: Temporal patterns in the use of engineering knowledge. Engineering Studies, 2(3), 197-219.


"Each engineering occupation is distinguished by the body of specific knowledge it has built up over time. Some scholars argue that the instrumentality of this historically established knowledge in the solution of everyday design problems renders formal education more important than experience; others counter that engineering work primarily demands practice-generated knowledge that individuals construct in the course of everyday activities. We address this argument by documenting the frequency with which engineers apply different types of knowledge with different derivations. Through field observations of structural engineers, we constructed a “knowledge profile” that indicated that two-thirds of the knowledge engineers employed was practice generated. Knowledge profiles like this could help differentiate among engineering occupations and serve as the foundation for conceptualizing occupations in a world of “knowledge work.” In addition, knowledge profiles could help university engineering education programs better target and mirror the knowledge demands of the profession."

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