Journal of African American Studies

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 61-74

First online:

Critical Inquiry into Urban African-American Students’ Perceptions of Engineering

  • Cameron D. DensonAffiliated withNational Center for Engineering and Technology Education, Department of Engineering and Technology Education, College of Engineering, Utah State UniversityCurriculum and Instruction, Emphasis: Engineering and Technology Education, Utah State University Email author 
  • , Zanj K. AveryAffiliated withCurriculum and Instruction, Emphasis: Engineering and Technology Education, Utah State University
  • , John W. SchellAffiliated withDepartment of Workforce Education, Leadership & Social Foundations, University of Georgia

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The purpose of this study was to critically examine the perceptions that African-American high school students have towards engineering. A qualitative research design using criterion sampling and snowballing was used to select seven African-American students from urban high schools to participate in the research. Semi-structured interviews were used to collect data from participants attending urban high schools on the east and west coast. Using Critical Race Theory (CRT) as the theoretical framework, the study was able to produce “emergent themes” from collected data. Findings from this study will help researchers understand how African-American students may perceive the field of engineering.


Critical race theory Perceptions Participatory action research Engineering