Different stories of group work: Exploring problem solving in engineering education
Journal article, 2012
This article aims to further the understanding of group work in higher education, primarily in science.
This is done through an empirical investigation of problem solving in small groups. Position theory is
used as an analytic tool for describing the complex and dynamic processes of group work, focusing
simultaneously on the physics content and the student community and how they constitute each
other. We analysed four video-recorded sessions with students from two Master’s programs, Engineering
Physics and Bioengineering, respectively. The students addressed two introductory mechanics problems.
The analysis resulted in a characterisation in terms of seven ‘storylines’ of two different kinds.
These are argued to reflect different aspects of engineering student communities, where one kind of
storylines captures ways of approaching the problems and the other kind exemplifies boundary work
involved in the constitution of communities.