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

  • Kuang-Chao Yu
  • Pai-Hsing Wu
  • Szu-Chun FanEmail author


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.


Critical thinking Engineering design process Scientific knowledge Structural equation modeling 

Supplementary material

10763_2019_10007_MOESM1_ESM.docx (51 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 50.9 kb)


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Copyright information

© Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Technology Application and Human Resource DevelopmentNational Taiwan Normal UniversityTaipeiTaiwan
  2. 2.Department of Industrial Technology EducationNational Kaohsiung Normal UniversityKaohsiung CityTaiwan

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