Elaborating Nature of Engineering Through Family Resemblance Approach

Sevgi Aydın-Günbatar, Gillian H. Roehrig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


With the release of Framework for K-12 Science Education (National Research Council, 2012) and Next Generation Science Standards (2013) documents, engineering was integrated into science teaching. With that emphasis, teachers require to incorporate engineering practices and nature of engineering into their practice. Most of the attention has been given to the iterative engineering design process through which engineering solve a client’s problem. However, understanding of what engineers do and how they do it, it is necessary to focus on nature of engineering. Given the limited emphasis put of the nature of engineering construct, the goal of this paper is to utilize the family resemblance approach lenses to characterize the construct based on Ludwig Wittgenstein’s philosophical work. We aim to frame the nature of engineering and draw a holistic view of engineering by elaborating on cognitive, epistemic, and social-institutional aspects of engineering for K-12 students, which provides a comprehensible theoretical justification of the construct.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalScience and Education
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
There is a close relationship between engineering and economics (Ferguson, ; Song, ). “This linking of engineering and economics should come as no surprise to the designer, since it is a rare project for which money is “no object”” (Dym & Little, , p. 205). Engineering projects are usually funded by a client such as private companies, universities, individual clients, military, or government. Moreover, engineering research projects are also funded by universities, agencies, and engineering societies (e.g., United Engineering Foundation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration [NASA], National Science Foundation). A specific field called Engineering Economics focuses on cost analysis, budget control, cost–benefit analysis, and measures for reduces project budget (Dym & Little, ), which is offered as a course by engineering programs.

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Science Foundation under Award Numbers 1238140.

Funding Information:
We would like to thank The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkiye (TUBITAK-2219 Program) for providing financial support.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V.


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