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Emotions in Engineering Education

Widening perspectives in a rapidly growing field of research

Submission process

  • Deadline for extended abstracts  – 15 November 2023
  • Notifications of invitation for full paper submission – 15 December 2023
  • Full paper submission due date – 15 June 2024

Instructions for authors

Extended abstracts should be anonymized and limited to 800-1000 words, plus references and any supplementary files(optional). The format is free. 

Please submit your abstract here:

Guest Editors

Co-Leading Guest Editors:

Guest Editors:

  • James Huff, Harding University, USA
  • Nihat Kotluk, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland
  • Khairiyah Mohd-Yusof, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia
  • Madeline Polmear, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium
  • Roland Tormey, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland
  • Idalis Villanueva Alarcón, University of Florida, USA

Aims and objectives

This special issue of the European Journal of Engineering Education aims to strengthen the emerging research field focusing on emotions in engineering education by showcasing a rich collection of novel empirical research on emotions in engineering education. This call is primarily directed at empirical and methodological articles that can broaden the scope of research on emotions in engineering education beyond the currently dominant topics of socio-emotional competences, empathy, anxiety, and academic emotions (unless they are connected to less dominant topics in novel ways). Articles describing studies that employ in-depth qualitative, physiological, and/or mixed-methods approaches will be prioritized. Theoretical articles may also be considered if they apply or develop currently under-represented theoretical perspectives (e.g., sociological or critical theories of emotion). The study context is engineering education at any level, including higher (tertiary) education, K-12, informal education, and work-bases education.

For this special issue, we welcome research on a wide range of topics, but the following ones are of particular interest, given they focus on emotions in engineering education:

  • Cognitive processes
  • International and cultural perspectives
  • Socialization and discourses
  • Well-being
  • Ethics and morality
  • Decision-making and action
  • Identity and sense of belonging
  • Sustainability and wicked problems
  • Novel methodological or theoretical approaches
  • Novel ways of representing data or research findings

About the theme

Emotions play an important role in teaching and learning in engineering education, and interest in the topic is rapidly increasing. However, the emerging body of research on emotions in engineering education is dispersed, and few authors cite work from others in the field(Lönngren et al., forthcoming). In addition, the scope of existing research is rather narrow(Lönngren et al., 2023): a large majority of the published studies focuses on emotional intelligence and other socio-emotional competencies(e.g., Bhave et al., 2020; Lappalainen, 2015), followed by research on empathy(e.g., Bairaktarova & Plumlee, 2022; Hess et al., 2020; Walther et al., 2017), anxiety(e.g., Bellinger et al., 2015; Ecciux Wellmann & Barragán G., 2016), and academic emotions(e.g., Fritzsche et al., 2018; Villavicencio, 2011). Further, most research has been conducted in higher education contexts, indicating important research gaps in primary, secondary, and non-formal education(Lönngren, Bellocchi, et al., 2021).

Explicit engagement with theories of emotion is today rare and typically limited to cognitive appraisal theories of emotion(Lönngren et al., forthcoming), such as multi-componential theory (Scherer, 2005)and control-value theory (Pekrun, 2006). Research employing sociological and critical perspectives is largely absent, even though such theories are commonly used to in the wider education literature (Chubbuck & Zembylas, 2008; Zembylas & Schutz, 2016). For example, Hochschild’s (1979, 1983)work on feeling rules(norms regarding which emotions one is expected to feel and express) and emotional labor(the effort one exerts to express “appropriate” emotions at work) has lately received increasing attention in the sociological education literature (Wang et al., 2019).

Even in terms of research methods, we see great potential for the field to engage with a broader range of methods for data collection and analysis. Most published studies today rely on self-report measures, that is, participants reporting on their own emotions, often through questionnaires or interviews(Lönngren, Bellocchi, et al., 2021). Self-report measures provide

convenient and resource-efficient approaches to quantifying the presence or absence of specific emotions and socio-emotional competences, but they have also been criticized for sometimes producing unreliable results and neglecting interactional dimensions of emotions (Pekrun & Bühner, 2014; Shuman & Scherer, 2014). The field would also benefit from more research employing in-depth qualitative methods to explore questions related to the why and how of emotions in engineering education. In-depth interviews, field observations, and multimodal analysis can provide useful approaches for such research (e.g., Huff et al., 2021; Kellam et al., 2018; Lönngren, Adawi, et al., 2021; VillanuevaAlarcón & Anwar, 2022). Finally, physiological methods can contribute real-time information on the intensity of participants’ emotions (e.g., Villanueva Alarcón et al., 2018).


Bairaktarova, D., & Plumlee, D. (2022). Creating Space for Empathy: Perspectives on Challenges of Teaching Design Thinking to Future Engineers. International Journal of Engineering Education, 38(2), 512–524.

Bellinger, D. B., DeCaro, M. S., & Ralston, P. A. (2015). Mindfulness, anxiety, and high-stakes mathematics performance in the laboratory and classroom. Consciousness and Cognition, 37, 123-132.

Bhave, S. Y., Mardhekar, V., Mane, S., & Itkarkar, S. (2020). Study on Socioemotional aspects of Engineering Girl students. Journal of Indian Association for Child & Adolescent Mental Health, 16(2), 90-105. A9h.

Chubbuck, S. M., & Zembylas, M. (2008). The Emotional Ambivalence of Socially Just Teaching: A Case Study of a Novice Urban Schoolteacher. American Educational Research Journal, 45 (2), 274-318.

Ecciux Wellmann, C., & Barragán G., A. L. (2016). Diferencias y similitudes entre los perfiles de ansiedad matemática de estudiantes de Administración y de Ingeniería. Revista Intercontinental de Psicología y Educación, 18 (1/2), 39-59

Fritzsche, E. S., Schlingensiepen, J., & Kordts-Freudinger, R. (2018). Study motivation and academic emotions in engineering students: A case study in German higher education. IEEE Global Engineering Education Conference, April, 563–570.

Hess, J. L., Miller, S., Higbee, S., Fore, G. A., & Wallace, J. (2020). Empathy and ethical becoming in biomedical engineering education: A mixed methods study of an animal tissue harvesting laboratory. Australasian Journal of Engineering Education.

Hochschild, A. (1979). Emotion work, feeling rules, and social structure. American Journal of Sociology, 85, 551–575. Hochschild, A. (1983). The managed heart: Commercialization of human feeling. University of California Press.

Huff, J., Okai, B., Shanachilubwa, K., Sochacka, N. W., & Walther, J. (2021). Unpacking professional shame: Patterns of White male engineering students living in and out of threats to their identities. Journal of Engineering Education, 110(2), 414–436.

Kellam, N., Gerow, K., Wilson, G., Walther, J., & Cruz, J. (2018). Exploring Emotional Trajectories of Engineering Students: A Narrative Research Approach. International Journal of Engineering Education, 34(6), 1726–1740.

Lappalainen, P. (2015). Predictors of Effective Leadership in Industry—Should Engineering Education Focus on Traditional Intelligence, Personality, or Emotional Intelligence? European Journal of Engineering Education, 40(2), 222–233. ERIC.

Lönngren, J., Adawi, T., & Berge, M. (2021). Using positioning theory to study the role of emotions in engineering problem solving: Methodological issues and recommendations for future research. Studies in Engineering Education, 2(1), 53–79.

Lönngren, J., Bellocchi, A., Berge, M., Bøgelund, P., Direito, I., Rahman, N. F. A., Huff, J., Mohd-Yusof, K., Murzi, H., & Tormey, R. (forthcoming). Emotions in Engineering Education: A Systematic Review of the Literature.

Lönngren, J., Bellocchi, A., Bøgelund, P., Direito, I., Huff, J., Mohd-Yusof, K., Murzi, H., & Tormey, R. (2021). Emotions in Engineering Education: Preliminary Results from a Scoping Review. Research in Engineering Education Symposium, 5-8 December, Perth, Australia.

Lönngren, J., Direito, I., Tormey, R., & Huff, J. (2023). Emotions in engineering education. In A. Johri (Ed.), International Handbook of Engineering Education (pp. 156–182). Routledge.

Pekrun, R. (2006). The Control-Value Theory of Achievement Emotions: Assumptions, Corollaries, and Implications for Educational Research and Practice. Educational Psychology Review, 18, 315–341.

Pekrun, R., & Bühner, M. (2014). Self-Report Measures of Academic Emotions. In R. Pekrun & L. Linnenbrink-Garcia (Eds.), International Handbook of Emotions in Education (pp. 561–579). Routledge.

Scherer, K. R. (2005). What are emotions? And how can they be measured? Social Science Information, 44, 695–729.

Shuman, V., & Scherer, K. R. (2014). Concepts and Structures of Emotions. In R. Pekrun & L. Linnenbrink-Garcia (Eds.), International Handbook of Emotions in Education (pp.13–35). Routledge.

Villanueva Alarcón, I. V., & Anwar, S. (2022). Situating multi-modal approaches in engineering education research. Journal of Engineering Education, 111(2), 277–282.

Villanueva Alarcón, I., Campbell, B. D., Raikes, A. C., Jones, S. H., & Putney, L. G. (2018). A Multimodal Exploration of Engineering Students’ Emotions and Electrodermal Activity in Design Activities. Journal of Engineering Education, 107(3), 414–441.

Villavicencio, F. T. (2011). Critical thinking, negative academic emotions, and achievement: A mediational analysis. The Asia-Pacific Education Researcher, 20(1), 118–126.

Walther, J., Miller, S. E., & Sochacka, N. W. (2017). A Model of Empathy in Engineering as a Core Skill, Practice Orientation, and Professional Way of Being. Journal of Engineering Education, 106(1), 123–148.

Wang, H., Hall, N. C., & Taxer, J. L. (2019). Antecedents and Consequences of Teachers’ Emotional Labor: A Systematic Review and Meta-analytic Investigation. Educational Psychology Review, 31, 663–698.

Zembylas, M., & Schutz, P. A. (2016). Methodological Advances in Research on Emotion and Education. Springer.

About the journal

European Journal of Engineering Education is the official journal of SEFI, the European Society for Engineering Education (Société Européenne pour la Formation des Ingénieurs).

The journal invites relevant contributions that combine scholarliness with usefulness for improving engineering education:

• Usefulness implies that papers should be useful to readers outside the context where the work was made. Usefulness can take many forms, to readers who can be educators, researchers, specialists, leaders, or other stakeholders of engineering education.

• Scholarliness refers to the significance and novelty of the contribution, consistency and soundness of the research approach, connection to relevant literature, coherence and readability of the paper, as well as credibility and quality of the ideas and insights generated.


Kristina Edström

KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden


J. Bernhard – Linköping University, Sweden

S. Chance – TU Dublin, Ireland


E. Alpay – University of Surrey, UK

U. Beagon – TU Dublin, Ireland

M. van den Bogaard – University of Texas at El Paso, USA

R. Broadbent – Aston University, UK

J. Buckley – Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands Midwest, Ireland

J. Case – Virginia Tech, USA

S. Daniel – University of Technology Sydney, Australia

X. Du – Aalborg University, Denmark

A. Kolmos – Aalborg University, Denmark

G. Langie – KU Leuven, Belgium

D. Martin – Eindhoven University of Technology, Netherlands

S. Nikolic – University of Wollongong, Australia

J. Power – University of Limerick, Ireland

K. Roach – UCL, UK

F. Saunders – Manchester Metropolitan University, UK

R. Tormey – EPFL, Switzerland

B. Williams – CEG-IST, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal

Journal homepage:

Print ISSN: 0304-3797 Online ISSN: 1469-5898

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