Structural Relationships among High School Students’ Scientific Knowledge, Critical Thinking, Engineering Design Process, and Design Product

Kuang Chao Yu, Pai Hsing Wu, Szu Chun Fan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


With an increased emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education, educators have often adopted engineering projects for integrating interdisciplinary knowledge through engineering design process. However, there is scant research that has empirically documented the relationships among students’ understanding of the knowledge and their characteristics on the design product. This study uses structural equation modeling to examine the influence of students’ scientific knowledge, design process, and critical thinking on their design product of the engineering project. A theoretical model was constructed to identify the factors that affected the design product. Study data were collected from 613 high school students, aged 16–17 years, regarding their scientific knowledge, design processes, and critical thinking. The results showed that design process played a mediating role in the effects of knowledge and critical thinking on the final design product. Students who could deduce, explain, and evaluate had an increased ability to apply scientific knowledge during the design process. These results indicate that scientific knowledge has an effect on the process and products of engineering projects completed by high school students. This study also suggested that the science and technology education community should consider offering high school students learning opportunities to promote their cognitive skills and facilitate connections between knowledge and practice.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Science and Mathematics Education
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2019 Jan 1
Externally publishedYes



  • Critical thinking
  • Engineering design process
  • Scientific knowledge
  • Structural equation modeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Mathematics(all)

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