Anderson, T., Torrens, R., Lay, M. & Duke, M. (2008). "Where did we go wrong?" An examination of students treatment of experimental error in engineering mechanics laboratories. In Proceedings of the 2008 AaeE Conference, Yeppoon, Queensland, Australia; 7-10 December, 2008.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/3206
The ability of engineers and applied scientists to undertake experimental measurements is a fundamental requirement of the profession. However, it is not simply good enough to be able to perform experiments if we are not able to interpret the results. In this study, reports prepared by mechanical engineering students were examined to determine how students dealt with the disparity between experimental measurements and theoretical results in their Engineering Mechanics laboratories. Analysis of the reports, and discussions with students in their laboratory classes, revealed a superficial understanding or regard for experimental error. This superficial treatment of experimental error is, most likely, due to a number of factors that are discussed. Some possible strategies for addressing the issue are also examined.
This article has been published in the Proceedings of the 2008 AaeE Conference, Yeppoon. ©2008 Anderson, Torrens, Lay and Duke.